Spatial and Temporal Distribution of Speciated Atmospheric Mercury in Southeastern Texas

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate and compare the contribution of anthropogenic emissions to the levels of atmospheric mercury in both urban and coastal settings of southeastern Texas. Speciated atmospheric mercury measurements were obtained from the ideally located University of Houston Moody Tower and University of Houston Coastal Center from March 22, 2012- June 6, 2013 and July 26, 2013-June 6, 2013, respectively. The use of key tracer gases from various data sources as well as meteorological data from ground-based stationary monitoring facilities was used in the evaluation of high-mercury pollution plumes, the general direction of the source origin as well as seasonal and diurnal mixing ratios of the three atmospheric mercury species. At the costal site measurements showed consistently lower mixing ratios for all mercury species and had no significant mercury events recorded. The urban University of Houston Moody Tower had much higher and more dramatic fluctuations in mixing ratios for all three mercury species with two major mercury events recorded. Both events were associated with periods of low wind conditions and Houston Ship Channel origins. While the measurements collected at the urban location show consistencies with past studies conducted at the same location, the complexity of atmospheric mercury interactions prevent any indepth interpretations of the results.

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Keywords

Atmospheric, Mercury

Citation