Distinct spatiotemporal distributions of sea surface dissolved elemental mercury (DEM) and its air-sea exchange flux were observed in the river-dominated and monsoon-influenced East China Sea (ECS). Spatially, DEM concentrations were higher in the nearshore Changjiang diluted water (90 ± 20 to 260 ± 40 fM) than in the offshore Kuroshio water (60 ± 10 to 160 ± 40 fM) and correlated with salinity and total Hg concentrations, suggesting that the total Hg discharged from the Changjiang river is a controlling factor. In summer, monsoon-driven coastal upwelling formed a transient nearshore water mass with very elevated DEM concentrations (290 ± 20 to 320 ± 70 fM). Seasonally, DEM concentrations in all water masses were the highest in summer (120 ± 30 to 320 ± 70 fM). Estimated rate coefficients for DEM production varied seasonally and strongly correlated with sea surface temperature (SST). Hg0 evasion fluxes also peaked in summer (670 ± 380 pmol m-2 day-1), while in winter, DEM was close to equilibrium with gaseous elemental mercury in the atmosphere. Based on the air-sea Hg fluxes for all four seasons from this study and regional atmospheric deposition fluxes from others, we conclude that the ECS is a net sink of Hg annually, but it is a source of Hg to the atmosphere in summer. Moreover, the contribution of the ECS to Hg evasion may increase as a result of flood-associated high Changjiang discharge and rising SST.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Chemistry