Nevada STORMS project: Measurement of mercury emissions from naturally enriched surfaces

M. Sexauer Gustin*, S. Lindberg, F. Marsik, A. Casimir, R. Ebinghaus, G. Edwards, C. Hubble-Fitzgerald, R. Kemp, H. Kock, T. Leonard, J. London, M. Majewski, C. Montecinos, J. Owens, M. Pilote, L. Poissant, P. Rasmussen, F. Schaedlich, D. Schneeberger, W. SchroederJ. Sommar, R. Turner, A. Vette, D. Wallschlaeger, Z. Xiao, H. Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

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Diffuse anthropogenic and naturally mercury-enriched areas represent long-lived sources of elemental mercury to the atmosphere. The Nevada Study and Tests of the Release of Mercury From Soils (STORMS) project focused on the measurement of mercury emissions from a naturally enriched area. During the project, concurrent measurements of mercury fluxes from naturally mercury-enriched substrate were made September 1-4, 1997, using four micrometeorological methods and seven field flux chambers. Ambient air mercury concentrations ranged from 2 to nearly 200 ng m-3 indicating that the field site is a source of atmospheric mercury. The mean daytime mercury fluxes, during conditions of no precipitation, measured with field chambers were 50 to 360 ng m-2 h-1, and with the micrometeorological methods were 230 to 600 ng m-2 h-1. This wide range in mercury emission rates reflects differences in method experimental designs and local source strengths. Mercury fluxes measured by many field chambers were significantly different (p < 0.05) but linearly correlated. This indicates that field chambers responded similarly to environmental conditions, but differences in experimental design and site heterogeneity had a significant influence on the magnitude of mercury fluxes. Data developed during the field study demonstrated that field flux chambers are ideal for assessment of the physicochemical processes driving mercury flux and development of an understanding of the magnitude of the influence of individual factors on flux. In general, mean mercury fluxes measured with micrometeorological methods during daytime periods were nearly 3 times higher than mean fluxes measured with field flux chambers. Micrometeorological methods allow for derivation of a representative mercury flux occurring from an unconstrained system and provide an assessment of the actual magnitude and variability of fluxes occurring from an area.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1999JD900351
Pages (from-to)21831-21844
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Issue numberD17
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sept 1999
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright AGU [1999]. Originally published as [Gustin, M. S., et al. (1999), Nevada STORMS project: Measurement of mercury emissions from naturally enriched surfaces, J. Geophys. Res., 104(D17), 21,831–21,844, doi:10.1029/1999JD900351]. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


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