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Abstract Title: Seasonal Variability and Source Analysis of Atmospheric Mercury at a Coastal Mediterranean Station
Presenter Name: Mariantonia Bencardino
Company/Institution: CNR-Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research
Session: Atmospheric Hg cycling: Source and Emissions
Day and Session: Wednesday 27th July - Session Four
Start Time: 16:00 UTC
Co-Authors: Mariantonia Bencardino,Maria Martino,Lorenzo Angiuli,Antonella Tassone,Francesco D'Amore,Francesca Sprovieri,Nicola Pirrone

Abstract Information :

The Italian government has recently promoted the establishment of a ?special? monitoring network that integrates the surveillance of parameters required by National and European legislation. In this framework, regarding the Italian Special Network for Mercury (ISNM), three background sites have been established in Italy. Among these stations, continuous measurement of Gaseous Elemental Mercury (GEM) started first at Monte SantAngelo (MSA - Apulia region), using the Lumex RA-915AM mercury analyzer and making available a dataset covering nearly three years (June 2018 - August 2020). Over the whole sampling period the daily averaged GEM levels at MSA ranged from 1.32 to 2.39 with a median value of 1.73 ng m-3, in line with concentrations typically found in the Mediterranean area. An evaluation of this dataset was carried out to assess the influence of local and long-range transport. Coal power plants, densely distributed over north-eastern Europe and over the western Balkans countries, were identified as one of the main contributing anthropogenic sources due to long-range transport. On a regional scale, over Italian territory, the nearby Federico II coal-fired power plant, in the south-east of the Apulia region, and the Monte Amiata area in Tuscany (highly contaminated by past mining activities) were identified as potentially notable anthropogenic sources related to specific very high GEM episodes. The results highlighted in this study provide a preliminary overview on the main mechanisms and factors influencing the variability of GEM concentrations recorded at one of the new air quality stations in Italy equipped to monitor atmospheric Hg levels. As Italy ratified the Minamata Convention on Mercury in 2021 and given the concerns regarding Hg due to its toxicity to humans and ecosystems, the GEM measurements that will continue to be collected at the MSA site, will support further investigations into the understanding of the Hg atmospheric cycle.

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