Influence of Emissions from Southeast Asia on Regional Atmospheric Mercury Cycle

Project Details


According to UNEP’s estimate, the global anthropogenic atmospheric Hg emission was 1960 metric tons in 2010. East and Southeast Asia is the major emission source region, contributing about 40% of the global emission. China is the top emitter, contributing about 30% of the global emission. In recent years, large-scale Chinese haze events occur frequently and sometimes influence Taiwan via trans-boundary transport, possibly accompanied by the export of atmospheric Hg. Biomass burning is another important emission source, releasing 675 metric tons of Hg to the atmosphere each year globally. Both Indonesia and the Indochina Peninsula are major biomass burning regions. Monitoring results of the Lulin Atmospheric Background Station (LABS) indicate that the springtime (March-April) biomass burning emission plumes from the Indochina Peninsula can influence the mountain air quality of Taiwan, resulting in elevated concentrations of air pollutants, such as CO, O3, aerosols, and Hg. During transport, the biomass burning plumes may pass southwest and south China before reaching Taiwan. As a result, the biomass burning plume could also carry and mix with the Chinese anthropogenic Hg emission to Taiwan. By contrast, studies concerning the influence of atmospheric Hg emissions, due to biomass burning and anthropogenic activities, from Indonesia and the Philippines to the South China Sea and Taiwan are extremely limited. Therefore, a 3-year research project is proposed to characterize atmospheric Hg emissions from different source regions, to study the physical and chemical transformation of Hg speciation during transport, and to discuss the regional atmospheric Hg cycle. This proposal is prepared for the application of research funding of the 1st year (2018/8-2019/7). Via regional international collaboration, intensive measurements of atmospheric Hg will be conducted at sites in the source region (Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia or the Philippines) and the downwind receptor sites in Taiwan (such as Taiping Island, Dongsha Island, Cape Fuguei, Mt. Bamboo, Mt. Lulin, or Hengchun) during the 2018 Cloud, Aerosol and Monsoon Processes Philippines Experiment (CAMP2Ex) and the 2019 7-SEAS spring experiment. Meteorological information and data of atmospheric radiation and other air pollutants will be integrated with the Hg data for detail data analyses and discussion.
Effective start/end date1/08/1831/07/19

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals


  • Biomass Burning
  • Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining
  • Anthropogenic Emissions


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