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Chemosphere. 2015 Jan;119:199-208. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2014.05.064. Epub 2014 Jul 7.

Elemental mercury (Hg(0)) in air and surface waters of the Yellow Sea during late spring and late fall 2012: concentration, spatial-temporal distribution and air/sea flux.

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  • 1Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, No. 18 Shuangqing Road, Beijing 100085, China.
  • 2Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, No. 18 Shuangqing Road, Beijing 100085, China. Electronic address:


The Yellow Sea in East Asia receives great Hg input from regional emissions. However, Hg cycling in this marine system is poorly investigated. In late spring and late fall 2012, we determined gaseous elemental Hg (GEM or Hg(0)) in air and dissolved gaseous Hg (DGM, mainly Hg(0)) in surface waters to explore the spatial-temporal variations of Hg(0) and further to estimate the air/sea Hg(0) flux in the Yellow Sea. The results showed that the GEM concentrations in the two cruises were similar (spring: 1.86±0.40 ng m(-3); fall: 1.84±0.50 ng m(-3)) and presented similar spatial variation pattern with elevated concentrations along the coast of China and lower concentrations in the open ocean. The DGM concentrations of the two cruises were also similar with 27.0±6.8 pg L(-1) in the spring cruise and 28.2±9.0 pg L(-1) in the fall cruise and showed substantial spatial variation. The air/sea Hg(0) fluxes in the spring cruise and fall cruise were estimated to be 1.06±0.86 ng m(-2) h(-1) and 2.53±2.12 ng m(-2) h(-1), respectively. The combination of this study and our previous summer cruise showed that the summer cruise presented enhanced values of GEM, DGM and air/sea Hg(0) flux. The possible reason for this trend was that high solar radiation in summer promoted Hg(0) formation in seawater, and the high wind speed during the summer cruise significantly increased Hg(0) emission from sea surface to atmosphere and subsequently enhanced the GEM levels.


Air/sea mercury exchange; Dissolved gaseous mercury; Emission flux; Gaseous elemental mercury; The Yellow Sea

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