Initial findings of recent investigations of air-snow relationships in the summit region of the Greenland ice sheet


The concentrations of7Be,210Pb and major ions have been measured in acrosol and snow samples collected near Summit, Greenland (72°20′N, 38°45′W) in the summers of 1989 and 1990. Comparison to previous results from free tropospheric sampling of the North American Arctic indicates that some acrosol-associated species are as much as 50% depleted in near surface air over the Greenland Ice Sheet. It is shown that local atmospheric processes, particularly isolation of air masses beneath a near surface inversion, can exert dominant influence on the chemistry of surface-level air. These findings illustrate the extreme caution that must be taken if the results of surface-based atmospheric sampling are to be used to examine the relationship between the chemistry of the atmosphere and snow falling from it.

Depth profiles of7Be in the surface layers of the snowpack near Summit suggest that up to half of the annual accumulation of snow may occur in the two to three month late spring-early summer period. If this is generally true for the Summit region, previous regional studies of snow chemistry that assumed linear dependence of age on depth to convert depth profiles to time series will have to be reassesed. However, spatial heterogeneity of near surface snow chemistry, that is currently not well understood, makes interpretation of the7Be profiles tentative at present.


Earth Sciences, Earth Systems Research Center

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Journal of Atmospheric Chemistry



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