The estimated six-year mercury dry deposition across North America

Leiming Zhang, Zhiyong Wu, Irene Cheng, L. Paige Wright, Mark L. Olson, David A. Gay, Martin R. Risch, Steven Brooks, Mark S. Castro, Gary D. Conley, Eric S. Edgerton, Thomas M. Holsen, Winston Luke, Robert Tordon, Peter Weiss-Penzias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dry deposition of atmospheric mercury (Hg) to various land covers surrounding 24 sites in North America was estimated for the years 2009 to 2014. Depending on location, multiyear mean annual Hg dry deposition was estimated to range from 5.1 to 23.8 μg m−2 yr−1 to forested canopies, 2.6 to 20.8 μg m−2 yr−1 to nonforest vegetated canopies, 2.4 to 11.2 μg m−2 yr−1 to urban and built up land covers, and 1.0 to 3.2 μg m−2 yr−1 to water surfaces. In the rural or remote environment in North America, annual Hg dry deposition to vegetated surfaces is dominated by leaf uptake of gaseous elemental mercury (GEM), contrary to what was commonly assumed in earlier studies which frequently omitted GEM dry deposition as an important process. Dry deposition exceeded wet deposition by a large margin in all of the seasons except in the summer at the majority of the sites. GEM dry deposition over vegetated surfaces will not decrease at the same pace, and sometimes may even increase with decreasing anthropogenic emissions, suggesting that Hg emission reductions should be a long-term policy sustained by global cooperation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12864-12873
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 6 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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