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Ten-year trends in atmospheric mercury concentrations, meteorological effects and climate variables at Zeppelin, Ny-??lesund

by T. Berg, K. A. Pfaffhuber, A. S. Cole, O. Engelsen, A. Steffen
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics ()
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Results from ten years of gaseous elemental mercury (GEM) measurements at Zeppelin station, Ny-Alesund, Svalbard, show no overall annual trend between 2000 and 2009. Seasonal trend analysis showed significantly decreasing trends in January, February, March and June (-4.5 to -14.9 pg m(-3) yr(-1)) and significantly increasing trends in May and July through December (1.5 to 28.7 pg m(-3) yr(-1)). Results showed that atmospheric mercury depletion events (AMDEs) were equally distributed between April and May with only a few having been observed in March and June. A negative correlation between AMDEs and temperature is reported and supports earlier observations that AMDEs tend to occur at low temperatures. Lower concentrations of GEM were seen at lower temperatures below a threshold of 0 degrees C. The occurrence of AMDEs and wind direction were well correlated with the lowest GEM measured when the wind direction was from the Arctic Ocean region. Wind speed was found to not correlate with AMDEs, but the lowest GEM concentrations were observed at low wind speeds between 4 and 11 ms(-1). AMDEs and relative humidity did not correlate well, but the lowest GEM levels appeared when the relative humidity was between 80 and 90 %. Diurnal variation was observed especially during the month of March and is probably due to daytime snow surface emission induced by solar radiation. Relationships between GEM concentration and the Northern Hemisphere climate indices were investigated to assess if these climate parameters might reflect different atmospheric conditions that enhance or reduce spring AMDE activity. No consistent pattern was observed.

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