I. Hedgecock, N. Pirrone
Jun 1, 2001
Abstract Following a modelling investigation of the role of the ambient aerosol in the cycling—that is the transport, transformation and deposition—of mercury in the atmosphere, the precise part played by the sea salt component of the marine aerosol in the remote marine boundary layer has been studied using a combination of models to describe the photolytic, gas phase and aqueous phase and heterogeneous chemistry of the marine boundary layer, in conjunction with inter phase mass transport and mercury chemistry. The role of the ocean in the emission of elemental mercury is, as yet, not entirely understood, but certainly the speciation of mercury deposited to the ocean surface is important as regards its re-emission. Models of mercury chemistry to date have tended to focus on cloud chemistry, and with good reason, as precipitation accounts for a large part of the global mercury deposition pattern; however, the composition of the marine aerosol is entirely different from that of cloud or fog droplets and the modelling studies here show that it plays a more local role being partially responsible for the gas phase speciation of mercury. The role of photochemical processes is investigated and particular attention is paid to halogen chemistry, as the chloride ion has been shown previously to have a notable effect on the concentration of oxidised mercury associated with particles, or better, solution droplets. The role of the sea salt component of the marine aerosol in the production of gas phase oxidised mercury species is described qualitatively and quantitatively.