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In situ measurements of speciated atmospheric mercury and the identification of source regions in the Mexico City Metropolitan Area

by A. P. Rutter, D. C. Snyder, E. A. Stone, J. J. Schauer, R. Gonzalez-Abraham, L. T. Molina, C. Márquez, B. Cárdenas, B. de Foy show all authors
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions ()

Abstract

In order to expand the currently limited understanding of atmospheric mercury source-receptor relationships in the Mexico City Metropolitan Area, real time measurements of atmospheric mercury were made at a downtown urban site, and a rural site on the outskirts of Mexico City, during March, 2006. Numerous short-lived increases in particulate mercury (PHg) and reactive gaseous mercury (RGM) concentrations were observed at the urban site during the 17 day study, and less frequent increases in gaseous elemental mercury (GEM) concentrations were measured at both the urban and rural sites. The episodic increases observed were attributed to plume impacts from industrial point source emissions in and around Mexico City. Average concentrations and standard deviations measured during the study were as follows: i) Urban site: PHg=187 plus or minus 300 pg m super(− 3), RGM=62 plus or minus 64 pg m super(− 3), GEM=7.2 plus or minus 4.8 ng m super(− 3). ii) Rural site: GEM=5.0 plus or minus 2.8 ng m super(− 3). Several source regions of atmospheric mercury to the urban and rural sites were determined using Concentration Field Analysis, in which atmospheric mercury measurements were combined with back trajectory data to determine source regions. Only some source regions correlated to mercury emission sources listed in the Federal Pollutant Release and Transfer Register, leaving the rest unaccounted for. Contributions of anthropogenic mercury point sources in and around Mexico City to concentration averages measured at the urban site during the study were estimated to be: 93 plus or minus 3% of reactive mercury (PHg and RGM), and; 81 plus or minus 0.4% of GEM. Point source contributions to GEM measured at the rural site were 72 plus or minus 1%. GEM and reactive mercury (PHg and RGM) were not found to correlate with biomass burning at either of the measurement sites.

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