Ship-based measurements of atmospheric mercury concentrations over the Baltic Sea
Journal article, 2018
Mercury is a toxic pollutant emitted from both natural sources and through human activities. A global interest in atmospheric mercury has risen ever since the discovery of the Minamata disease in 1956. Properties of gaseous elemental mercury enable long range transport, which can cause pollution even in pristine environments. Gaseous elemental mercury (GEM) was measured from winter 2016 to spring 2017 over the Baltic Sea. A Tekran 2357A mercury analyser was installed aboard the research and icebreaking vessel Oden for the purpose of continuous measurements of gaseous mercury in ambient air. Measurements were performed during a campaign along the Swedish east coast and in the Bothnian Bay near Lulea during the icebreaking season. Data was evaluated from Gothenburg using plotting software, and back trajectories for air masses were calculated. The GEM average of 1.36 ± 0.054 ng/m 3 during winter and 1.29 ± 0.140 ng/m 3 during spring was calculated as well as a total average of 1.36 ± 0.16 ng/m 3 . Back trajectories showed a possible correlation of anthropogenic sources elevating the mercury background level in some areas. There were also indications of depleted air, i.e., air with lower concentrations than average, being transported from the Arctic to northern Sweden, resulting in a drop in GEM levels.
Mapping of GEM levels
Long range transport