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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Mercury monitoring in support of the Minamata Convention will require effective and reliable analytical tools. Passive sampling is a promising approach for creating a sustainable long-term network for atmospheric mercury with improved spatial resolution and global coverage. In this study the analytical performance of three Passive Air Samplers (CNR-PAS, IVL-PAS, MerPAS) was assessed over extended deployment periods and the accuracy of concentrations was judged by comparison with active sampling.
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https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2020-455
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2020-455

  29 Dec 2020

29 Dec 2020

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

A field intercomparison of three passive air samplers for gaseous mercury in ambient air

Attilio Naccarato1, Antonella Tassone1, Maria Martino1, Sacha Moretti1, Antonella Macagnano2, Emiliano Zampetti2, Paolo Papa2, Joshua Avossa2, Nicola Pirrone1, Michelle Nerentorp3, John Munthe3, Ingvar Wängberg3, Geoff W. Stupple4, Carl P. J. Mitchell5, Adam R. Martin5, Alexandra Steffen4, Diana Babi6, Eric M. Prestbo6, Francesca Sprovieri1, and Frank Wania5 Attilio Naccarato et al.
  • 1CNR-Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research, Division of Rende, UNICAL-Polifunzionale, I-87036 Arcavacata di Rende, CS, Italy
  • 2CNR-Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research, Research Area of Rome 1, Via Salaria km 29,300, 00016 Monterotondo, Italy
  • 3IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, Gothenburg, 41133, Sweden
  • 4Air Quality Processes Research Section, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Toronto, M3H 5T4, Canada
  • 5Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences, University of Toronto Scarborough, Toronto, M1C 1A4, Canada
  • 6Tekran Instruments Corporation, 330 Nantucket Boulevard, Toronto, Ontario, M1P 2P4, Canada

Abstract. Passive air samplers (PASs), providing time-averaged concentration of gaseous mercury over the time scale of weeks to months, are promising to fill a gap in the monitoring of atmospheric mercury worldwide. Their usefulness will depend on their ease-of-use and robustness under field conditions, their availability and affordability, and most notably, their ability to provide results of acceptable precision and accuracy. Here we describe a comparative evaluation of three PASs with respect to their ability to record precisely and accurately atmospheric background concentrations at sites in both southern Italy and southern Ontario. The study includes the CNR-PAS with gold nanoparticles as a sorbent, developed by the Italian National Research Council, the IVL-PAS using an activated carbon-coated disk, developed by the Swedish Environmental Research Institute, and the MerPAS® using a sulfur-impregnated activated carbon sorbent, developed at the University of Toronto and commercialized by Tekran. Detection limits are deduced from the variability in the amount of mercury quantified in more than 20 field blank samples for each PAS. Analytical and sampling precision is quantified through 22 triplicated deployments for each PAS ranging in length from two to twelve weeks. Accuracy and bias are assessed through comparison with gaseous elemental mercury concentrations recorded by Tekran 2537 automated mercury analyzers operating alongside the PASs at both locations. The performance of the PASs was significantly better in Italy, with all of them providing concentrations that are not statistically significantly different from the average of the active sampling results. In Canada, where weather conditions were much harsher and more variable during the February through April deployment period, differences were observed amongst PASs. At both sites, the MerPAS® is currently the most sensitive, precise and accurate among the three PASs. A key reason for this is the larger size and the radial configuration of the MerPAS®, which results in blank levels that are lower relative to the sequestered amounts of mercury than in the other two PASs, which rely on axial diffusion geometries. Because the blank-correction becomes relatively smaller with longer deployment, sampler performance tends to be better during deployments of 8 and 12 weeks.

Attilio Naccarato et al.

 
Status: open (until 23 Feb 2021)
Status: open (until 23 Feb 2021)
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Attilio Naccarato et al.

Attilio Naccarato et al.

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Short summary
Mercury monitoring in support of the Minamata Convention will require effective and reliable analytical tools. Passive sampling is a promising approach for creating a sustainable long-term network for atmospheric mercury with improved spatial resolution and global coverage. In this study the analytical performance of three Passive Air Samplers (CNR-PAS, IVL-PAS, MerPAS) was assessed over extended deployment periods and the accuracy of concentrations was judged by comparison with active sampling.
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