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  • Atmospheric Deposition of Mercury and Trace Metals to the Pensacola Bay Watershed

  • Funding by EPA Region 4, 2004-2008 Atmospheric concentrations of many compounds including nitrogen, mercury, copper, zinc, sulfur, and polyaromatic hydrocarbons have increased since the industrial revolution due to combustion of fossil fuels, industrial and manufacturing processes and agricultural operations. Mercury (Hg) emissions to the atmosphere are primarily associated with coal burning power plants and waste incinerators. What is the atmospheric wet deposition of mercury, trace metals to the lower Pensacola Bay Watershed? 1. Are there seasonal patterns in deposition rates? NAPD monitoring data (NAPD 2003) from the stations closest to Pensacola Bay suggest that peak deposition occurs in the late spring and that interannual variation can be 15% of mean deposition. 2. How do prior weather conditions affect deposition? Studies in south Florida suggest that type of storm, whether convective thunderstorm or frontal can affect deposition. Analysis of deposition data along with local wind data prior to rainfall events should also reveal whether concentrating mechanisms like the sea breeze effect occur here. 3. Are there hot spots within the watershed? Regional studies have shown that deposition is not uniform throughout watersheds. Sampling at different locations will be used to see how variable deposition rates are throughout the watershed. 4. How does it compare within the region and how important are local sources of emissions? The results from this study will be compared with the NAPD data to evaluate the importance of local sources. NOAA’s HYSPLIT model will be used to backcast wind trajectories at the sampling sites. This will be useful for evaluating the importance of local versus regional sources for both wet deposition and dry deposition.