Title: Nitrate and chloride in Antarctic ice cores - postdepositional effects and the preservation of atmospheric signals (Invited)
Author: Pasteris, D., McConnell, J.R., Edwards, R., Isaksson, E.D. and Albert, M.A.
Periodical: American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2013, abstract #C24B-03

Continuous nitrate and chloride measurements have been made from an array of ice cores located in interior Dronning Maud Land that cover the last 2000 years. The average snow accumulation rates at the ice core sites range from 2.7 to 10 cm weq yr-1, which has enabled the study of how accumulation rate affects the preservation and diffusion of nitrate and chloride in the snow. High-resolution dating of the ice cores by tie-point matching with the WAIS Divide ice core has allowed the effects of temporal changes in accumulation rate to also be observed. Results show a strong linear dependence of nitrate concentration on site-average accumulation rate, suggesting that fresh snow concentrations and reemission rates of nitrate from the snowpack are homogenous across the study area. Bulk chloride to sodium ratios over scales greater than 1 m are close to bulk sea salt composition at all of the sites, suggesting that little net gain or loss of volatile chloride has occurred. However, the chloride signal is heavily diffused relative to sodium and the extent of diffusion does not increase with depth in the ice cores, suggesting that it is a near-surface phenomenon. Possible mechanisms behind the observed chloride diffusion pattern will be discussed. Lastly, a sustained decline in nitrate concentration occurred during the Little Ice Age (LIA, 1500–1900 C.E.), but the high-resolution snow accumulation records show that it is not caused by a decrease in accumulation rate during that time. The nitrate record is highly correlated with published methane isotope data from Antarctica (δ13CH4), suggesting that the decline during the LIA was caused by a decrease in a biomass burning nitrate source. Average nitrate concentration versus site-average inverse accumulation rate.

Year: 2013