Modeling of the atmospheric dispersion of heavy metals over Poland

Abstract : Modelling of atmospheric transport of heavy metals emitted from Polish power sectorMany studies have been conducted to investigate the atmospheric heavy metals contamination and its deposition to ecosystems. The increasing attention to mercury pollution has been mainly driven by the growing evidence of its negative impacts on wildlife, ecosystems and particularly human health. Lead and cadium are also toxics which are being emitted into the atmosphere by anthropogenic as well as natural sources. The harmful influence of these three heavy metals was underlined in the Aarhus Protocol on Heavy Metals of 1998. The Parties of this protocol (including Poland) are obligated to reduce emissions, observe the transport and the amounts of lead, mercury and cadmium in the environment.Poland is one of the biggest emitter of mercury, lead and cadmium in Europe mainly due to emission from coal combustion processes. Therefore in Poland, research efforts to study the heavy metals emission, atmospheric transport, concentration and deposition are extremely important. The objectives of this work were twofold:•The practical objective was to develop and run a model to represent the atmospheric dispersion of mercury and to implement it in the air quality modelling platform Polyphemus.•The scientific objective was to perform heavy metals dispersion studies over Europe and detailed studies of the impact of the polish power sector on the air quality regarding mercury, cadmium and lead.To meet the declared aim, a new mercury chemical model was implemented into the Polyphemus air quality system. The scientific literature was reviewed regarding mercury chemistry and mercury chemical models. It can be concluded that the chemistry of mercury is still not well known. The models also differ in the way of calculating the dry and wet deposition of mercury. The elemental gaseous mercury ambient concentrations are evenly distributed, on the contrary, high variations in the spatial gradients of reactive gaseous and particulate forms of mercury air concentrations and deposition fluxes were noted.This study shows that many components of the developed model have crucial impacts on the results. In the model of mercury chemistry, the most effective pathway in the gaseous phase are the oxidation of gaseous elemental mercury by hydroxyl radical, ozone and most of all bromine oxide radicals, while in the aqueous phase the reduction reactions of elemental mercury dominate. These reactions have a crucial influence on the mass balance of reactive mercury, but a rather low influence on gaseous elemental mercury (GEM). In this model, dry deposition of gaseous elemental mercury is the prevailing process for removing mercury from the atmosphere. Dry deposition of GEM over land is equally distributed, due to almost uniform ambient concentrations. The relatively high dry deposition flux of gaseous elemental mercury has a huge influence on the presented results and differs significantly from other models where the dry deposition of GEM is often not taken into account. It was also shown that a change in the calculation of the scavenging coefficients or representative raindrop diameter for in-cloud scavenging has a significant impact on the amount of wet deposited mercury.The detailed results show that the Polish power sector can be responsible for up to 80% of wet deposited mercury near large emission sources. The contribution from national sources over whole Poland reaches 21% during the winter heating season when large quantities of coal are burned in the domestic sector and additionally the power sector activity is at its highest. The impact of emissions of cadmium and lead from the power sector is lower compared to the obtained results for mercury. The modelling results showed maximal impacts of 30% and 10% for cadmium and lead near large power sector sources on the ambient concentrations and deposition. Wider measurements of heavy metals are very much needed
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Janusz Zysk. Modeling of the atmospheric dispersion of heavy metals over Poland. Ocean, Atmosphere. Université Paris-Est, 2016. English. ⟨NNT : 2016PESC1169⟩. ⟨tel-01539576⟩

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