Source apportionment of atmospheric mercury in the remote marine atmosphere: Mace Head GAW station, Irish western coast


We examined recent atmospheric mercury concentrations measured with a high temporal resolution of 15 min at Mace Head, a GAW station on the western coast of Ireland. We attributed a direct contribution of 34 % (0.44 ng m−3) to primary sources. Additionally, a steep decline (0.05 ng yr−1) in mercury concentrations was observed between 2013 and 2018. Using a stereo algorithm we reconstructed 99.9 % of the atmospheric mercury. A conservative analysis demonstrated no decrease in total gaseous mercury (TGM) associated with atmospheric species typically used as tracers for oceanic emissions. The results show that the atmospheric mercury mass is mainly loaded in a baseline factor with an ongoing decline. Moreover, we exploit temporal variation and wind pattern effects in the measured atmospheric species; the results show that the diurnal variation and seasonality in TGM observed in Mace Head are closely related to other species linked to primary sources and can be explained by transport from continental areas.
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