Simultaneous measurements of the concentrations of soluble acidic species in the gas, aerosol and snow phases at Summit, Greenland were made during summer 1993. Mean concentrations of gas phase HCOOH, CH3COOH, and HNO3 (49±28, 32±17 and 0.9±0.6 nmol m−3 STP, respectively) exceeded the concentrations of aerosol-associated HCOO, CH3COO, and NO3by 1–3 orders of magnitude. On average, SO2 concentrations (0.9±0.6 nmol m−3 STP) were approximately 1/3 those of aerosol SO4=, but this ratio varied widely due largely to changes in the concentration of aerosol SO4=. Concentrations of aerosol SO4= plus SO2 consistently exceeded the sum of aerosol NO3 plus HNO3, yet NO3 was 3–20 times as abundant as SO4=in surface snow. Gas phase concentrations of HCOOH and CH3COOH at Summit were unexpectedly as large as those previously reported for several high latitude continental sites. However, carboxylate concentrations in snow were lower than those of SO4=. Our observation of post-depositional loss of these carboxylic acids within hours after a snowfall must partially explain the low concentrations found in snow. The relative abundance of soluble acids in summer snow at Summit was opposite of that in the overlying atmosphere. Our results highlight the need for improved understanding of the processes controlling transfer of soluble atmospheric species between air and snow.

Publication Date


Journal Title

Geophysical Research Letters



Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Document Type



Copyright 1994 by the American Geophysical Union.