Air-sea exchange of gaseous mercury in the tropical coast (Luhuitou fringing reef) of the South China Sea, the Hainan Island, China.Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2016 Jun; 23(11):11323-11329.ES
The air-sea exchange of gaseous mercury (mainly Hg(0)) in the tropical ocean is an important part of the global Hg biogeochemical cycle, but the related investigations are limited. In this study, we simultaneously measured Hg(0) concentrations in surface waters and overlaying air in the tropical coast (Luhuitou fringing reef) of the South China Sea (SCS), Hainan Island, China, for 13 days on January-February 2015. The purpose of this study was to explore the temporal variation of Hg(0) concentrations in air and surface waters, estimate the air-sea Hg(0) flux, and reveal their influencing factors in the tropical coastal environment. The mean concentrations (±SD) of Hg(0) in air and total Hg (THg) in waters were 2.34 ± 0.26 ng m(-3) and 1.40 ± 0.48 ng L(-1), respectively. Both Hg(0) concentrations in waters (53.7 ± 18.8 pg L(-1)) and Hg(0)/THg ratios (3.8 %) in this study were significantly higher than those of the open water of the SCS in winter. Hg(0) in waters usually exhibited a clear diurnal variation with increased concentrations in daytime and decreased concentrations in nighttime, especially in cloudless days with low wind speed. Linear regression analysis suggested that Hg(0) concentrations in waters were positively and significantly correlated to the photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) (R (2) = 0.42, p < 0.001). Surface waters were always supersaturated with Hg(0) compared to air (the degree of saturation, 2.46 to 13.87), indicating that the surface water was one of the atmospheric Hg(0) sources. The air-sea Hg(0) fluxes were estimated to be 1.73 ± 1.25 ng m(-2) h(-1) with a large range between 0.01 and 6.06 ng m(-2) h(-1). The high variation of Hg(0) fluxes was mainly attributed to the greatly temporal variation of wind speed.