Date of Award

January 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Civil and Environmental Engineering


Charles T. Driscoll


Brownfield, Diurnal and seasonal variation, Total gaseous mercury, Urban

Subject Categories



Although mercury toxicity has been recognized for centuries, the atmospheric cycle of this element is still not fully understood. In order to obtain a better perspective of the dynamics of atmospheric mercury in urban areas, total gaseous mercury (TGM) was measured at a brownfield site at the Center of Excellence (CoE) in Syracuse NY from 2011 to 2016. The brownfield was removed on May 2015, and a parking lot was installed. For this study, I had a series of objectives including: (1) to understand vertical and temporal variations in TGM concentration; (2) investigate the influence of meteorological factors on TGM concentrations and variations; (3) evaluate the effect of brownfield removal and site restoration on TGM concentrations and variations; (4) compare TGM variation at this site with other monitoring sites in New York State to confirm hypothesis made in this study. Continuous TGM measurements were made at two different heights (1.8 m and 42.7 m) at the COE. To interpret TGM variations, meteorological data collected by SUNY-ESF were also used in this analysis. In addition, mercury flux measurements from the land surface was conducted at this site on June 2015. Prior to brownfield remediation, the overall average TGM concentrations were 1.6±0.58 ng/m3 and 1.4±0.40 ng/m3 at ground and upper level, respectively. TGM tended to have higher concentrations during night and in the morning, and was positively correlated with air temperature, solar radiation, but negatively correlated with wind speed. After brownfield remediation, TGM concentrations immediately decreased by 32% and 22% at the ground and upper level, respectively and likely to have higher concentrations during nighttime and lower concentrations in the daylight. Relations of TGM concentrations with temperature, solar radiation and wind speed were completely eliminated after brownfield remediation. These results suggest that TGM concentrations at this site were strongly controlled by local mercury evasion prior to brownfield removal, with evasion rate increasing due to higher air temperature and stronger solar radiation. TGM derived from mercury evasion from the site were diluted by horizontal mixing from winds and vertical mixing associated with movement of the PBL.


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