A unique seasonal pattern in dissolved elemental mercury in the South China Sea, a tropical and monsoon-dominated marginal sea
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KeywordAtmospheric Hg cycling; Air-sea exchange; Elemental Hg; Monsoon cycling; South China Sea; Southeast Asian Time-series Study (SEATS)
A unique seasonal pattern in dissolved elemental mercury (DEM) was observed in the tropical monsoon-dominated South China Sea (SCS). The DEM concentration varied seasonally, with a high in summer of 160 ± 40 fM (net evasion 580 ± 120 pmol m−2 d−1, n = 4) and a low in winter of 60 ± 30 fM (net invasion −180 ± 110, n = 4) and showed a positive correlation with sea surface temperature (SST). The elevated DEM concentration in summer appears mainly abiologically driven. In winter, the SCS acts as a sink of atmosphere Hg0 as a result of low SST and high wind of the year, enhanced vertical mixing, and elevated atmospheric gaseous elemental mercury. Annually, the SCS serves as a source of Hg0 to the atmosphere of 300 ± 50 pmol m−2 d−1 (385 ± 64 kmol Hg yr−1, ~2.6% of global emission in ~1% of global ocean area), suggesting high regional Hg pollution impacts from the surrounding Mainland (mostly China).
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2013. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Geophysical Research Letters 40 (2013): 167–172, doi:10.1029/2012GL054457.
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