Temporal variability of mercury speciation in urban air

Bian Liu, Gerald J. Keeler, J. Timothy Dvonch, James A. Barres, Mary M. Lynam, Frank J. Marsik, Joy Taylor Morgan

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117 Scopus citations


Semi-continuous measurements of ambient mercury (Hg) species were performed in Detroit, MI, USA for the calendar year 2003. The mean (±standard deviation) concentrations for gaseous elemental mercury (GEM), particulate mercury (HgP), and reactive gaseous mercury (RGM) were 2.2±1.3 ng m-3, 20.8±30.0, and 17.7±28.9 pg m-3, respectively. A clear seasonality in Hg speciation was observed with GEM and RGM concentrations significantly (p<0.001) greater in warm seasons, while HgP concentrations were greater in cold seasons. The three measured Hg species also exhibited clear diurnal trends which were particularly evident during the summer months. Higher RGM concentrations were observed during the day than at night. Hourly HgP and GEM concentrations exhibited a similar diurnal pattern with both being inversely correlated with RGM. Multivariate analysis coupled with conditional probability function analysis revealed the conditions associated with high Hg concentration episodes, and identified the inter-correlations between speciated Hg concentrations, three common urban air pollutants (sulfur dioxide, ozone, and nitric oxides), and meteorological parameters. This analysis suggests that both local and regional sources were major factors contributing to the observed temporal variations in Hg speciation. Boundary layer dynamics and the seasonal meteorological conditions, including temperature and moisture content, were also important factors affecting Hg variability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1911-1923
Number of pages13
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue number9
StatePublished - Mar 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Gaseous elemental mercury
  • Mercury sources
  • Particulate mercury
  • Reactive gaseous mercury


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