Atmospheric mercury at mediterranean coastal stations


Mercury in air has been measured at five coastal Mediterranean sites, involving measurements in Spain, France, Italy, Slovenia and Israel. Four two-weeks long measurements campaigns were performed at the five sites. The measurements were carried out during autumn 2003 and winter, spring and summer 2004. Total gaseous mercury/elemental gaseous mercury, particulate mercury and divalent gaseous mercury were measured in parallel at the five sites. The activities constituted a subtask of the EU funded MERCYMS research project, which also included Mediterranean Sea cruises where both mercury in air and water were measured. The result from an evaluation of all the coastal air data is presented. Mercury concentrations from the different sites are compared with similar data obtained in northern Europe and elsewhere. The result shows that the background concentration of mercury in Mediterranean coastal air is lower than earlier anticipated. Background concentrations of TGM, RGM and TPM corresponded to 1.75–1.80 ng m−3, 1–13 and 3–23 pg m−3, respectively. The measurements also showed that the mercury concentration occasionally can be very high in some areas due to local anthropogenic emissions. It is proposed that diurnal variation in RGM concentrations observed during situation with nocturnal inversion merely is an effect of meteorology rather than due to local photochemistry.

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Reactive gaseous mercury


Total gaseous mercury


Total particulate mercury


Gaseous elemental mercury (Hg0)


Cold vapour atomic fluorescence spectrometer


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Correspondence to Ingvar Wängberg.

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Wängberg, I., Munthe, J., Amouroux, D. et al. Atmospheric mercury at mediterranean coastal stations. Environ Fluid Mech 8, 101–116 (2008).

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  • Atmospheric mercury
  • Mercury deposition
  • RGM
  • TGM
  • TPM