Journal article

An assessment of atmospheric mercury in the Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) model at an urban site and a rural site in the Great Lakes Region of North America

Holloway T, Voigt C, Morton J, Spak S, Rutter A, Schauer J ...see all

Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, vol. 12, issue 15 (2012) pp. 7117-7133

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Quantitative analysis of three atmospheric mercury species - gaseous
elemental mercury (Hg-0), reactive gaseous mercury (RGHg) and
particulate mercury (PHg) - has been limited to date by lack of ambient
measurement data as well as by uncertainties in numerical models and
emission inventories. This study employs the Community Multiscale Air
Quality Model version 4.6 with mercury chemistry (CMAQ-Hg), to examine
how local emissions, meteorology, atmospheric chemistry, and deposition
affect mercury concentration and deposition the Great Lakes Region
(GLR), and two sites in Wisconsin in particular: the rural Devil's Lake
site and the urban Milwaukee site. Ambient mercury exhibits significant
biases at both sites. Hg-0 is too low in CMAQ-Hg, with the model showing
a 6% low bias at the rural site and 36% low bias at the urban site.
Reactive mercury (RHg = RGHg + PHg) is over-predicted by the model, with
annual average biases > 250%. Performance metrics for RHg are much
worse than for mercury wet deposition, ozone (O-3), nitrogen dioxide
(NO2), or sulfur dioxide (SO2). Sensitivity simulations to isolate
background inflow from regional emissions suggests that oxidation of
imported Hg-0 dominates model estimates of RHg at the rural study site
(91% of base case value), and contributes 55% to the RHg at the urban
site (local emissions contribute 45%).

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  • Scott SpakUniversity of Iowa School of Urban and Regional Planning

  • T. Holloway

  • C. Voigt

  • J. Morton

  • A. P. Rutter

  • J. J. Schauer

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