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Scientists Measure Atmospheric Total Gaseous Mercury in the Inland Tibetan Plateau Region
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Mercury is a toxic heavy metal and a global pollutant with special physical and chemical properties. The majority of the mercury released to the environment is emitted into the atmosphere and can be transported from emission sources to deposition sites around the globe. 

Recently, a research group led by Prof. KANG Shichang from Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources of CAS, together with their coauthors from Saint Louis University of USA, used a Tekran 2537B instrument and multiple linear regressions (MLR) and a box model, to monitor atmospheric total gaseous mercury (TGM) concentrations and investigate the temporal mercury variations at Nam Co Station. 

They measured high time resolution TGM at the Nam Co Station from January 2012 to October 2014, and studied the temporal and spatial characteristics of atmospheric mercury. 

The research result indicates the pristine atmospheric environment on the inland Tibetan Plateau. It is also found that long-term TGM at the Nam Co Station exhibits a slight decrease, especially for summer seasons. 

Besides, seasonal variation of TGM at Nam Co Station is influenced by factors such as reemission processes of deposited mercury over the Earth’s surfaces, vertical mixing and long-range transport. 

Results indicate that long-range transports from the central and eastern Indo-Gangetic Plain are potentially the main sources for seasonally elevated TGM due to the alternate impact of the westerlies and of the Indian monsoon. 

This study provides an atmospheric mercury baseline on the remote inland Tibetan Plateau and serves as new constraint for the assessment of Asian mercury emission and pollution. 

The study entitled “Multi-year monitoring of atmospheric total gaseous mercury at a remote high-altitude site (Nam Co, 4730 m a.s.l) in the inland Tibetan Plateau region” was published in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 



KANG Shichang 


State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Science, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China. 

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