Air-Sea Exchange of Mercury

  • William F. Fitzgerald
  • G. A. Gill
  • A. D. Hewitt
Part of the NATO Conference Series book series (NATOCS, volume 9)

Abstract

Investigations of Hg in the near surface marine atmosphere in rainwater and in seawater have been conducted in open ocean regions of the tropical Pacific and the northwest Atlantic Oceans. Extensive studies of Hg in the atmosphere at the Sea-Air Exchange Program (SEAREX) tower facility at the Enewetak Atoll, Marshall Islands, were completed during 1979 while the southern hemisphere counterpart will be conducted at American Samoa in 1981. During 1979–1980 complementary work was conducted in the coastal marine environment of Long Island Sound. The distribution and chemical composition of atmospheric Hg have been examined using both Au and Ag amalgamation as selective trapping agents. Mercury analyses were conducted by a two-stage Au amalgamation flameless atomic absorption technique (4% precision @ 0.5 ng). Mercury determinations in seawater and in rainwater were made by the Au amalgamation procedure after reduction and aeration.

Most of the near surface atmospheric Hg species over both the open ocean and coastal regions studied are in the vapor phase (>99%). Similar concentrations of Hg were found in the air over the open ocean sites in the northern hemisphere (~1.5 ng m−3) while smaller concentrations of Hg were observed in the southern hemisphere (~1.0 ng m−3). Increases in gaseous Hg concentrations in the atmosphere, suggestive of Hg evasion from the sea surface, were observed in the central equatorial Pacific Ocean. At Long Island Sound the gaseous Hg concentrations are about twice the concentrations from oligotrophic oceanic areas, and a significant amount of Hg is in the organic form. The concentrations of Hg in open ocean rains are quite low (~10 pmol 1−1) and reactive Hg concentrations in surface waters are correspondingly small (~3 pmol 1−1).

These observations and the cycling of Hg between the atmosphere and ocean satisfy an air-sea exchange model which treats atmospheric Hg as a trace gas.

Keywords

Open Ocean Marshall Island Marine Atmosphere Washout Ratio Enewetak Atoll 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. 1.
    National Academy of Sciences (NAS), 1978: An assessment of mercury in the environment. Washington, D.C., p. 185.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Nriagu, J.O., 1979: Editor, The Biogeochemistry of Mercury in the Environment. Elsevier/North Holland Biomedical Press, New York. p. 696.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Lantzy, R.J. and F.T. MacKenzie, 1978: Atmospheric trace metals: global cycles and assessment of man’s impact. Geochim. et Cosmochim. Acta. 43, 511–525.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Appelquist, H., K.O. Jensen, T. Sevel and S. Hammer, 1978: Mercury in the Greenland ice sheet. Nature 273, 657–659.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Fitzgerald, W.F., 1979: Distribution of mercury in natural waters. In: “The Biogeochemistry of Mercury in the Environment”, edited by J.O. Nriagu. Elsevier/North Holland Biomedical Press, Amsterdam, Chapter 7, 161–173.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Andren, A.W. and J.O. Nriagu, 1979: The global cycle of mercury. In: “The Biogeochemistry of Mercury in the Environment”, edited by J.O. Nriagu. Elsevier/North Holland Biomedical Press, Amsterdam, Chapter 1, 1–21.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    McLean, R.A.N., M.O. Farkas and D.M. Findlay, 1980: Determination of mercury in natural waters: Sampling and analysis problems. In: “Polluted Rain”, edited by T.Y. Toribara, M.W. Miller and P.E. Morrow. Plenum Publishing Corp., pp. 151–173.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Weiss, H.G., M. Koide and E.D. Goldberg, 1971: Mercury in a Greenland ice sheet: Evidence of recent input by man. Science 174, 692–694.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Mackenzie, F.T. and R. Wollast, 1977: Sedimentary cycling models of global processes. In: “The Sea, vol. 6, Marine Modeling”, edited by E.D. Goldberg, J.N. McCave, J.J. O’Brien and J.H. Steele. John Wiley, New York, Chapter 19, pp. 765–777.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Desaedeleer, G. and E.D. Goldberg, 1978: Rock volatility — Some initial experiments. Geochem. J. 12, 75–79.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Gill, G.A. and W.F. Fitzgerald, 1979: “Mercury geochemistry of Long Island Sound: Analytical and field study.” Symposium on Trace Elements in the Hydrosphere, 177th Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Honolulu, Hawaii, April 2–7, 1979. Paper #103 in Environmental Chemistry Section, Program and Abstracts.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Fitzgerald, W.F., A.D. Hewitt, G.A. Gill and R.M. Ferguson, 1979: Gaseous and particulate mercury in the coastal marine atmosphere: Air/sea exchange considerations. Program and abstracts, 9th Northeast Regional Meeting American Chemical Society, Syracuse, N.Y., October 2–5, Envir. #3.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Unni, S., W.F. Fitzgerald, D.Settle, G. Gill, B. Ray, C. Patterson and R. Duce, 1978: “The impact of volcanic emissions on the global atmospheric cycles of sulfur, mercury and lead”. Fall Meeting, American Geophysical Union, San Francisco, Dec. 4–8, 1978, Abstract: EOS 59, 1223.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Fitzgerald, W.F. and G.A. Gill, 1979: Subnanogram determination of mercury by two-stage gold amalgamation applied to atmospheric analysis. Anal. Chem. 51, 1714–1720.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Braman, R.S. and D.L. Johnson, 1974: Selective absorption tubes and emission technique for determination of ambient forms of mercury in air. Environ. Sci. Tech. 8, 996–1003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Fitzgerald, W.F., W.B. Lyons and C.D. Hunt, 1974: Coldtrap preconcentration method for the determination of mercury in seawater and in other natural materials. Anal. Chem. 46, 1882–1885.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Fogg, T.R. and W.F. Fitzgerald, 1979: Mercury in southern New England coastal rains. J. Geophys. Res., 84, C11, 6987–6989.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Gill, G.A., 1980: On the geochemistry of mercury in Long Island Sound: An analytical and field study. Master’s Thesis, Univ. of Connecticut, p. 199.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Patterson, C.C. and D. Settle, 1976: The reduction of orders of magnitude errors in lead analyses of biological materials and natural waters by evaluating and controlling the extent and sources of industrial lead contamination introduced during sample collecting and analysis. In: “Accuracy in Trace Analysis: Sampling, Sample Handling and Analysis”, P.D. Lafleur (ed.). NBS, Special Publication 422, Washington, D.C., Vol. I, pp. 321–335.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Moody, J.R., P.J. Paulsen, T.C. Rains and H.L. Rook, 1976: The preparation and certification of trace mercury in water standard reference materials. In: “Accuracy in Trace Analysis: Sampling, Sample Handling and Analysis”, P.D. Lafleur (ed.). NBS, Special Publication 422, Washington, D.C., Vol. I, pp. 267–275.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Fitzgerald, W.F. and G.A. Gill, 1981: A procedure for avoiding mercury contamination during open ocean sampling. In preparation.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Fitzgerald, W.F. and W.B. Lyons, 1975: Mercury concentrations in open ocean waters: Sampling procedure. Limnol. Oceanogr., 20, 468–471.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Fitzgerald, W.F., A.D. Hewitt and G.A. Gill, 1979: Global cycling of mercury in the marine atmosphere and its exchange with the ocean. IAPSO Program and abstracts for the XVII General Assembly of International Association for the Physical Sciences of the Ocean and the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics, Canberra, Australia, Dec. 2–15, 1979, PS–9 #5, p. 83.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Slemr, F., W. Seiler and G. Schuster, 1981: Latitudinal distribution of mercury over the Atlantic Ocean. J. of Geophys. Res., 86, C2, 1159–1166.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Nishimura, M., 1979: Determination of mercury in the aquatic environment and its global movement. Abstracts of Papers ACS/CSJ Chemical Congress, INOR 275, Honolulu, Hawaii, April.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Sanemasa, I, 1975: The solubility of elemental mercury vapor in water. Bull. Chem. Soc. Jap., 48, 1795–1798.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Junge, C.E., 1974: Residence time and variability of tropospheric trace gases. Tellus, 26, 477–488.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Liss, P.S. and P.G. Slater, 1974: Flux of gases across the air-sea interface. Nature, 247, 181–184.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Fasching, J.L., R.A. Courant, R.A. Duce and S.R. Piotrowicz, 1974: “A new surface microlayer sampler utilizing the bubble microtome”. J. Rech. Atmos., 8, 649–652.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Wyrtki, K., E. Firing, D. Halpern, R. Knox, G.J. McNally, W.C. Patzert, E.D. Stroup, B.A. Taft and R. Williams, 1981: The Hawaii to Tahiti shuttle experiment. Science, 211, 22–28.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Seiler, W., 1974: The cycle of atmospheric CO. Tellus, 26, 116–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Routhier, F., R. Dennett, D.D. Davis, A. Wartburg, P. Haagenson and A.S. Delany, 1980: Free tropospheric and boundary-layer airborne measurements of ozone over the latitude range of 58°S to 70°N. J. Geophys. Res., 85, 7307–7321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • William F. Fitzgerald
    • 1
  • G. A. Gill
    • 1
  • A. D. Hewitt
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Marine Sciences and Marine Sciences InstituteThe University of ConnecticutGrotonUSA

Personalised recommendations