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Title: Improved mechanistic model of the atmospheric redox chemistry of mercury
We present a new chemical mechanism for Hg(0)/ Hg(I) / Hg(II) atmospheric cycling, including recent laboratory and computational data, and implement it in the GEOS-Chem global atmospheric chemistry model for comparison to observations. Our mechanism includes the oxidation of Hg(0) by Br atoms and OH radicals, with subsequent oxidation of Hg(I) by ozone and radicals, re-speciation of gaseous Hg(II) in aerosols and cloud droplets, and speciated Hg(II) photolysis in the gas and aqueous phases. The tropospheric Hg lifetime against deposition in the model is 5.5 months, consistent with observational constraints. The model reproduces the observed global surface Hg(0) concentrations and Hg(II) wet deposition fluxes. Br and OH make comparable contributions to global net oxidation of Hg(0) to Hg(II). Ozone is the principal Hg(I) oxidant, enabling the efficient oxidation of Hg(0) to Hg(II) by OH. BrHgOH and Hg(OH)2 are the initial Hg(II) products of Hg0 oxidation, re-speciate in aerosols and clouds to organic and inorganic complexes, and volatilize to photostable forms. Reduction of Hg(II) to Hg(0) takes place largely through photolysis of aqueous Hg(II)-organic complexes. 71% of model Hg(II) deposition is to the oceans. Major mechanism uncertainties for atmospheric Hg chemistry modeling include the concentrations of Br atoms, the stability and reactions of Hg(I), and the speciation of Hg(II) in aerosols and clouds with implications for photoreduction.  more » « less
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Environmental science and technology
Medium: X
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National Science Foundation
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