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© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 21 Dec 2018

Research article | 21 Dec 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Elevated atmospheric mercury concentrations at the Russian polar station Amderma during Icelandic volcanoes' eruptions

Fidel Pankratov1, Alexander Mahura2, Tuukka Petäjä2, Valentin Popov3, and Vladimir Masloboev1 Fidel Pankratov et al.
  • 1Institute of Northern Environmental Problems, Kola Science Center, Russian Academy of Sciences, Fersman Str. 14A, Apatity, 184200, Russia
  • 2Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research (INAR)/Physics, Faculty of Science, University of Helsinki (UHEL), P.O. Box 64, Helsinki, FI-00560, Finland
  • 3Research and Production Association “Typhoon” of Roshydromet, Obninsk, Russia

Abstract. We estimate the long-range atmospheric transport of elemental mercury in the Northern Hemisphere and present new data for volcanic eruptions in Iceland. At the Polar station Amderma (Russia) of long-term observations of elemental mercury concentration (2009–2010), a change in the dynamics was recorded. For seasonal variability at the period from 2001–2009 negative trend (−0.66 ng per month) was fixed. However, the analysis of the last three years of measurement (2010–2012) showed the greatest positive trend (+0.97 ng per month). In April 2010 and the highest positive trend was observed (+0.24 ng m−3), for the first time for the whole (2001–2013). At the same time, high concentrations of gaseous elemental mercury in the range from 1.81 to 2.58 ng m−3 in Apr–Jun 2010 and from 1.81 to 3.31 ng m−3 in May–Jun 2011 in contrast to the typical concentrations of 1.51 ng m−3. During the period of 2010 and 2011 intensified volcanoes in Iceland and consequently volcanic eruptions in Iceland were considered the most probable cause of these increased concentrations. Until now, there have been no cases of recording a high concentration of mercury during the active eruption of the volcano, measured so far from the source of the eruption. In this way for the first time at the Amderma station in the Russian Arctic, high levels of elemental mercury were recorded as associated with the periods of active volcanoes Eyjafjallajokull (in 2010) and Grimsvotn (in 2011). The inverse trajectories calculated for a vertical profile covering a height of 500 and 3000 m above sea level the time level with high mercury concentrations confirmed that this was due to atmospheric transport from the northwest and was associated with the active Eyjafjallaicull and Grimsvotn volcanoes. Therefore, it can be assumed that these active volcanoes are the main sources of increased mercury concentrations in the northern hemisphere as a result of atmospheric transport of volcanic clouds to the monitoring point in the Russian Arctic.

Fidel Pankratov et al.
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Fidel Pankratov et al.
Fidel Pankratov et al.
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Short summary
Analysis of long-term observations for atmospheric mercury in the Russian Arctic, considering inter-annual, seasonal and monthly variabilities is in focus. Linkage of elevated concentrations with volcanic eruptions in Iceland is explored. Results showed that active volcanoes can play a role of sources for increased mercury levels in the Northern Hemisphere due to long-range atmospheric transport of volcanic clouds towards the Arctic.
Analysis of long-term observations for atmospheric mercury in the Russian Arctic, considering...