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Cloud-resolving Simulations of Mercury Scavenging and Deposition in Thunderstorms : Volume 13, Issue 2 (08/02/2013)

By Nair, U. S.

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Book Id: WPLBN0003996625
Format Type: PDF Article :
File Size: Pages 37
Reproduction Date: 2015

Title: Cloud-resolving Simulations of Mercury Scavenging and Deposition in Thunderstorms : Volume 13, Issue 2 (08/02/2013)  
Author: Nair, U. S.
Volume: Vol. 13, Issue 2
Language: English
Subject: Science, Atmospheric, Chemistry
Collections: Periodicals: Journal and Magazine Collection (Contemporary), Copernicus GmbH
Publication Date:
Publisher: Copernicus Gmbh, Göttingen, Germany
Member Page: Copernicus Publications


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Schure, A. T., Wu, Y., Walters, J. T., Holmes, C. D., Nair, U. S., & Kallos, G. (2013). Cloud-resolving Simulations of Mercury Scavenging and Deposition in Thunderstorms : Volume 13, Issue 2 (08/02/2013). Retrieved from

Description: Department of Atmospheric Science, University of Alabama in Huntsville, 320 Sparkman Drive, Alabama 35805, USA. This study examines dynamical and microphysical features of convective clouds that affect mercury (Hg) wet scavenging and concentrations in rainfall. Using idealized numerical model simulations in the Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (RAMS), we diagnose vertical transport and scavenging of soluble Hg species in thunderstorms under typical environmental conditions found in the Northeast and Southeast United States (US). Three important environmental characteristics that impact thunderstorm morphology were studied: convective available potential energy (CAPE), vertical shear (0–6 km) of horizontal wind (SHEAR) and precipitable water (PW).

We find that in a strong convective storm in the Southeast US that about 40% of mercury in the boundary layer (0–2 km) can be scavenged and deposited to the surface. Removal efficiencies are 35% or less in the free troposphere and decline with altitude. Nevertheless, if we assume that soluble Hg species are initially uniformly mixed vertically, then about 60% deposited mercury deposited by the thunderstorm originates in the free troposphere.

For a given CAPE, storm morphology and Hg deposition respond to SHEAR and PW. Experiments show that the response of mercury concentration in rainfall to SHEAR depends on the amount of PW. For low PW, increasing SHEAR decreases mercury concentrations in high-rain amounts (>13 mm). However, at higher PW values, increasing SHEAR decreases mercury concentrations for all rainfall amounts. These experiments suggest that variations in environmental characteristics relevant to thunderstorm formation and evolution can also contribute to geographical difference in wet deposition of mercury.

An ensemble of thunderstorm simulations was also conducted for different combinations of CAPE, SHEAR and PW values derived from radiosonde observations at five sites in the Northeast United States (US) and at three sites in the Southeast US. Using identical initial concentrations of gaseous oxidized mercury (GOM) and particle-bound mercury (HgP), from the GEOS-Chem model, the simulations predict higher mercury concentrations in rainfall from thunderstorms forming in the environmental conditions over the Southeast US compared to the Northeast US.

Mercury concentrations in rainfall are also simulated for a typical stratiform rain event and found to be less than in thunderstorms forming in environments typical of the Southeast US. The stratiform cloud scavenges mercury from the lower ~4 km of the atmosphere, while thunderstorms scavenge up to ~10 km.

Cloud-resolving simulations of mercury scavenging and deposition in thunderstorms

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