Long-term changes in concentration and deposition of atmospheric mercury over Scandinavia


Samples for measurements of total gaseous mercury (Hg) in air have been collected since 1980 in south-western part of Scandinavia. A collection program for precipitation samples used to determine changes in depositional fluxes of total Hg has been in operation since 1987. A comparison of today's total gaseous Hg levels in air and the total Hg concentrations in precipitation with the ones found earlier, shows a clear decrease with time. At the Swedish west-coast, yearly average air concentrations and median levels of 3.3 and 3.1 (1980-1984), 3.2 and 2.8 (1985-1989), and 2.7 and 2.6 ng Hg/m3 (1990-1992), respectively, were found. Increased average and median winter concentrations were always found, with levels at 3.7 and 3.4, 3.7 and 3.3, and 3.0 and 2.7 ng Hg/m3 for the respective time period. Higher winter values were expected due to increased anthropogenic emissions and changes in the mixing height of the atmosphere. The corresponding total wet deposition rates decreased from 27 (1987-1989) to 10 g Hg/m2 yr. (1990-1992). A finding of special interest was the decreased number of episodic events of high total gaseous Hg levels in air, from 1990 and further on. In addition, the frequency distribution of the concentrations of Hg in air seems to be different for these years compared to the other two time periods. A frequency distribution of air concentrations of Hg more resembling a normal distribution was found for the years 1990 to 1992. The decrease of the atmospheric burden of total gaseous Hg and deposition of total Hg are most probably connected to lower emissions in source areas on the European continent. It seems logical to state that the problem of high Hg depositional fluxes to Scandinavia, is best solved by abatement strategies on the regional scale.

Medarbetare: John Munthe

Nyckelord: Long-term change, concentration, deposition, atmospheric mercury, Scandinavia

Typ: Artikel

År: 2010

Rapportnummer: A1807

Författare: Åke Iverfeldt, John Munthe, Cyrill Brosset, Jozef Pacyna

Publicerad i: Water, Air, & Soil Pollution, ISSN 0049-6979 (Print) 1573-2932 (Online). Issue Volume 80, Numbers 1-4 DOI 10.1007/BF01189672. Pages 227-233