Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 9, 20913-20948, 2009
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Circumpolar measurements of speciated mercury, ozone and carbon monoxide in the boundary layer of the Arctic Ocean
J. Sommar1, M. E. Andersson2, and H.-W. Jacobi3,4
1State key Laboratory of Environmental Geochemistry, Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guiyang 550002, China
2Department of Chemistry, Göteborg University, 41296 Göteborg, Sweden
3Laboratoire de Glaciologie et Géophysique de l'Environnement, CNRS – Université Joseph Fourier Grenoble, 54 Rue Molière, 38400 St Martin d'Hères, France
4Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Am Handelshafen 12, 27570 Bremerhaven, Germany

Abstract. Using the Swedish icebreaker Oden as a platform, continuous measurements of airborne mercury (gaseous elemental mercury (Hg0), divalent mercury HgII(g) (acronym RGM) and mercury attached to particles (PHg)) and some long-lived trace gases (carbon monoxide CO and ozone O3) were performed over the North Atlantic and the Arctic Ocean. The measurements were performed for nearly three months (July–September, 2005) during the Beringia 2005 expedition (from Göteborg, Sweden via the proper Northwest Passage to the Beringia region Alaska – Chukchi Penninsula – Wrangel Island and in-turn via a north-polar transect to Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen). The Beringia 2005 expedition was the first time that these species have been measured during summer over the Arctic Ocean going from 60° to 90° N.

During the North Atlantic transect, concentration levels of Hg0, CO and O3 were measured comparable to typical levels for the ambient mid-hemispheric average. However, a rapid increase of Hg0 in air and surface water was observed when entering the ice-covered waters of the Canadian Arctic archipelago. Large parts of the measured waters were supersaturated with respect to Hg0, reflecting a strong disequilibrium. Heading through the sea ice of the Arctic Ocean, a fraction of the strong Hg0} pulse in the water was spilled with some time-delay into the air samples collected ~20 m a.s.l. Several episodes of elevated Hg0(g) were encountered along the sea ice route with higher mean concentration (1.81±0.43 ng m−3) compared to the marine boundary layer over ice-free oceanic waters (1.55±0.21 ng m−3). In addition, an overall majority of the variance in the temporal series of Hg0 concentrations was observed during July. Atmospheric boundary layer {O3} mixing ratios decreased when initially sailing northward. In the Arctic, an O3 minimum around 15–20 ppbv was observed during summer (July–August). Alongside the polar transect during the beginning of autumn, a steady trend of increasing O3 mixing ratios was measured returning to initial levels of the expedition (>30 ppbv). Ambient CO was fairly stable (84±12 ppbv) during the expedition. However, from the Beaufort Sea and moving onwards steadily increasing CO mixing ratios were observed (0.3 ppbv day−1). On a comparison with coeval archived CO and O3 data from the Arctic coastal strip monitoring sites Barrow and Alert, the observations from Oden indicate these species to be homogeneously distributed over the Arctic Ocean. Neither correlated low ozone and GEM events nor elevated concentrations of RGM and PHg were at any extent sampled, suggesting that atmospheric mercury deposition to the Arctic basin is low during the Polar summer and autumn. Elevated levels of Hg0 and CO were episodically observed in air along the Chukchi Peninsula indicating transport of regional pollution.

Citation: Sommar, J., Andersson, M. E., and Jacobi, H.-W.: Circumpolar measurements of speciated mercury, ozone and carbon monoxide in the boundary layer of the Arctic Ocean, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 9, 20913-20948, doi:10.5194/acpd-9-20913-2009, 2009.
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