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Research article2013Peer reviewedOpen access

A whole-air relaxed eddy accumulation measurement system for sampling vertical vapour exchange of elemental mercury

Sommar, Jonas; Zhu, Wei; Shang, Lihai; Feng, Xinbin; Lin, Che-Jin


An apparatus relying on relaxed eddy accumulation (REA) methodology has been designed and developed for continuous-field measurements of vertical Hg-0 fluxes over cropland ecosystems. This micro-meteorological technique requires sampling of turbulent eddies into up- and downdraught channels at a constant flow rate and accurate timing, based on a threshold involving the sign of vertical wind component (w). The fully automated system is of a whole-air type drawing air at a high velocity to the REA sampling apparatus and allowing for the rejection of samples associated with w-fluctuations around zero. Conditional sampling was executed at 10-Hz resolution on a sub-stream by two fast-response three-way solenoid switching valves connected in parallel to a zero Hg-0 air supply through their normally open ports. To suppress flow transients resulting from switching, pressure differentials across the two upstream ports of the conditional valves were minimised using a control unit. The Hg-0 concentrations of the up- and downdraught channel were sequentially (each by two consecutive 5-minute gas samples) determined after enhancement collection onto gold traps by an automated cold vapour atomic fluorescence spectrophotometer (CVAFS) instrument. A protocol of regular reference sampling periods was implemented during field campaigns to continuously adjust for bias that may exist between the two conditional sampling channels. Using a 5-minute running average was conditional threshold, nearly-constant relaxation coefficients (beta(s)) of similar to 0.56 were determined during two bi-weekly field deployments when turbulence statistics were assured for good quality, in accordance with previously reported estimates. The fully developed REA-CVAFS system underwent Hg-0 flux field trial runs at a winter wheat cropland located in the North China Plain. Over a 15-d period during early May 2012, dynamic, often bi-directional, fluxes were observed during the course of a day with a tendency of emission (Hg-0 median flux of 77.1 ng m(-2) h(-1)) during daytime and fluctuation around zero (Hg-0 median flux of 9.8 ng m(-2) h(-1)) during nighttime.


air-surface gas exchange; elemental mercury; micro-meteorological technique; cropland ecosystem flux

Published in

Tellus B
2013, Volume: 65, number: 1, article number: 19940

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences

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