Understanding Local Impacts of Mercury Improved by One-NOAA Partnership Establishing Monitoring Station
On January 18, scientists from NOAA’s Air Resources Laboratory completed final upgrades and installation of ambient air mercury monitoring equipment at a permanent site within the Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, near Pascagoula, MS. The National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science provided partial funding for vital infrastructure support and state-of-the-art monitoring equipment. The station will collect continuous measurements of mercury, carbon monoxide, ozone, and nitrogen. Long-term measurements provide essential information needed to better quantify atmospheric loadings to local watersheds, discern natural versus anthropogenic sources of mercury, and elucidate source-receptor relationships from known or suspected emission sources.
Significance: The mercury monitoring station at the Grand Bay NERR constitutes one of the first such stations in an emerging multi-agency national mercury network. The collected data will facilitate a more thorough evaluation of NOAA’s mercury models. These models are key to establishing clear linkages between atmospheric processes (emission, atmospheric chemistry, deposition) and aquatic and biochemical processes that govern the incorporation and migration of mercury through the food web.