Seasonal and spatial variability in snow chemistry at Eclipse Icefield, Yukon, Canada


Samples collected from four snow pits at Eclipse Icefield, Yukon, Canada, were analyzed for stable isotopes and major ions to assess seasonal and spatial variability in snow chemistry. Accumulation since the end of the 2001 summer season over the 0.1 km2 area sampled ranges from 0.77 to 1.16 m w.e. Snow-pit stratigraphy and chemical records demonstrate that the low accumulation at pit 3 is due to an under-representation of winter snow accumulation at that site. For all major-ion species, chemical concentrations are independent of snow accumulation rate. Seasonal variations are evident in the major-ion records and can be divided between sea-salt species (Na+, Cl) that peak in late fall to winter, and dust (Ca2+, Mg2+, K+) and other species (NH4+, NO3, SO4 2−, C2O22−) that peak in late spring to summer. The signal common to all four snow pits identified by empirical orthogonal function analysis ranges from 49% of the total variance for Na+ and Cl to as high as 80% of the total variance for SO42−. There is greater spatial variability in species associated with coarse-mode particles (Na+, Cl, Ca2+, Mg2+) than in species present mainly in accumulation-mode aerosols (SO42−, NH4+) or in the gas phase (NO3).


Earth Sciences, Earth Systems Research Center

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Annals of Glaciology


International Glaciological Society

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