Mercury variation and export in trans-Himalayan rivers
Mercury variation and export in trans-Himalayan rivers: Insights from field observations in the Koshi River
Strengthening the research of riverine mercury (Hg) export is of great significance for understanding the regional and global Hg cycle, especially for the data lacking trans-Himalayan rivers. In this study, three systematic sampling campaigns were conducted in the Koshi River Basin (KRB) during the post-monsoon, pre-monsoon and monsoon seasons. Hg speciation and distribution of river water were analyzed among the different seasons for a total of 88 water samples. The total Hg (THg) concentration of surface water in the KRB ranged from 0.64 to 32.96 ng·L−1 with an average of 5.83 ± 6.19 ng·L−1 and decreased in the order of post-monsoon (8.79 ± 7.32 ng·L−1) > monsoon (6.68 ± 6.12 ng·L−1) > pre-monsoon (2.18 ± 1.29 ng·L−1). Particulate Hg (PHg) accounted for 63% of THg on average and had a positive correlation with THg among all the three sampling seasons, indicating that the differences in PHg concentration were likely one of the main factors leading to the seasonal and spatial variations in THg in the KRB surface water. The annual Hg exports and fluxes were estimated to be 339.04 kg and 3.88 μg·m−2·yr−1, respectively. Furthermore, Hg export from the KRB had significant seasonal variation and decreased in the order of monsoon (259.47 kg) > post-monsoon (61.18 kg) > winter (9.31 kg) > pre-monsoon (9.08 kg), and this pattern was mainly related to seasonal changes in river runoff. The annual Hg export is projected to increase in the future, especially in the post-monsoon season. Therefore, more attention should be paid to river runoff observations and riverine Hg research for water resources management in the Himalaya.
Sun, X., Zhang, Q., Li, M., Kandel, K., Rawat, B., Pandey, A., Guo, J., Kang, S., Pant, R.R., Cong, Z. and Zhang, F. (2020). Mercury variation and export in trans-Himalayan rivers: Insights from field observations in the Koshi River. Science of The Total Environment, 139836. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.139836