Air mercury monitoring in the Baikal area (2011-2021)


  • Mashyanov, N.R. 1, 2
  • Pogarev, S.E. 1, 2
  • Sholupov, S.E. 1
  • Ryzhov, V.V. 1
  • Obolkin, V.A. 3
  • Khodzher, T.V. 3
  • Potemkin, V.L. 3
  • Molozhnikova, E.V. 3
  • Kalinchuk, V.V. 4
  • 1 Lumex-marketing LLC, Obruchevykh Str, 1-B. St Petersburg, 195220, Russia
    2 St. Petersburg State University, Universitetskaya Nab., 7/9, St. Petersburg, 199034, Russia
    3 Limnological Institute, SB RAS, Ulan-Batorskaya Str., 3, Irkutsk, 664033, Russia
    4 Il’ichev Pacific Oceanological Institute, FEB RAS, Baltiyskaya Str., 43, Vladivostok, 690041 Russia



Lake Baikal, air mercury monitoring, seasonal and short-term variability, sources of emissions, coalfired power plants


We present long-term (2011 – 2021) data on air mercury monitoring that was started within the GMOS (Global Mercury Observation System) project (2011-2015) at the Listvyanka station located on the shore of Lake Baikal, Siberia. Monitoring shows an obvious seasonal variation in the background mercury concentration in the air, which increases in the cold season and decreases in the warm season. Short-term anomalies are associated with the wind carrying air from industrial areas where several large coal-fired power plants are located (Irkutsk and Angarsk). A positive correlation between mercury, SO2 and NO2 concentrations is observed both in short-term variations and in average monthly concentrations. The analysis of the forward and backward trajectories obtained with the HYSPLIT model demonstrates possible mercury emission sources. Concentration-weighted trajectory (CWT) analysis has revealed potential remote regions of mercury emissions from where mercury can be transported by air masses to the area of Lake Baikal, including the territories of Transbaikalia and Mongolia (Erdenet). During the 2018 cruise, the continuous air mercury survey above Lake Baikal covered 1800 km. The mean mercury concentration above Lake Baikal is significantly lower than the mean value obtained at the onshore Listvyanka station during the same days of the cruise. That can lead to the conclusion that Lake Baikal is a sink of atmospheric mercury.