Abstract. Mercury (Hg) is emitted to the atmosphere mainly as volatile elemental Hg0. Oxidation to water-soluble HgII plays a major role in Hg deposition to ecosystems. Here, we implement a new mechanism for atmospheric Hg0∕HgII redox chemistry in the GEOS-Chem global model and examine the implications for the global atmospheric Hg budget and deposition patterns. Our simulation includes a new coupling of GEOS-Chem to an ocean general circulation model (MITgcm), enabling a global 3-D representation of atmosphere–ocean Hg0∕HgII cycling. We find that atomic bromine (Br) of marine organobromine origin is the main atmospheric Hg0 oxidant and that second-stage HgBr oxidation is mainly by the NO2 and HO2 radicals. The resulting chemical lifetime of tropospheric Hg0 against oxidation is 2.7 months, shorter than in previous models. Fast HgII atmospheric reduction must occur in order to match the ∼ 6-month lifetime of Hg against deposition implied by the observed atmospheric variability of total gaseous mercury (TGM ≡ Hg0+HgII(g)). We implement this reduction in GEOS-Chem as photolysis of aqueous-phase HgII–organic complexes in aerosols and clouds, resulting in a TGM lifetime of 5.2 months against deposition and matching both mean observed TGM and its variability. Model sensitivity analysis shows thatmore »
Atmospheric dust is an important source of the micronutrient Fe to the oceans. Although relatively insoluble mineral Fe is assumed to be the most important component of dust, a relatively small yet highly soluble anthropogenic component may also be significant. However, quantifying the importance of anthropogenic Fe to the global oceans requires a tracer which can be used to identify and constrain anthropogenic aerosols in situ. Here, we present Fe isotope (δ56Fe) data from North Atlantic aerosol samples from the GEOTRACES GA03 section. While soluble aerosol samples collected near the Sahara have near-crustal δ56Fe, soluble aerosols from near North America and Europe instead have remarkably fractionated δ56Fe values (as light as −1.6‰). Here, we use these observations to fingerprint anthropogenic combustion sources, and to refine aerosol deposition modeling. We show that soluble anthropogenic aerosol Fe flux to the global surface oceans is highly likely to be underestimated, even in the dusty North Atlantic.
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- Nature Communications
- Nature Publishing Group
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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