Measurements of atmospheric mercury with high time resolution: Recent applications in environmental research and monitoring

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  • R. Ebinghaus
  • H. H. Kock
  • S. R. Schmolke

In the past five years automated high time-resolution measurements of mercury species in ambient air have promoted remarkable progress in the understanding of the spatial distribution, short-term variability, and fate of this priority pollutant in the lower troposphere. Examples show the wide range of possible applications of these techniques in environmental research and monitoring. Presented applications of measurement methods for total gaseous mercury (TGM) include long-term monitoring of atmospheric mercury at a coastal station, simultaneous measurements during a south-to-north transect measurement campaign covering a distance of approximately 800 km, the operation on board of a research aircraft, and the quantification of mercury emissions from naturally enriched surface soils. First results obtained with a new method for the determination of reactive gaseous mercury (RGM) are presented. Typical background concentrations of TGM are between 1.5 and 2 ng m-3 in the lower troposphere. Concentrations of ROM have been determined at a rural site in Germany between 2 and 35 pg m-3. Flux measurements over naturally enriched surface soils in the Western U.S.A. have revealed emission fluxes of up to 200 ng Hg m-1 h-1 under dry conditions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAnalytical & Bioanalytical Chemistry
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)806-815
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 11.2001