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Methanesulfonate was investigated as a potential contributor to the sulfur budget, based on analysis of a firn core from Collins Ice Cap, King George Island, Antarctica (62°10′ S, 58°50′ W). The anion was found to be present at a mean concentration of 0.17 μeq L−1, with a maximum of 0.73 μeq L−1. Dating based on the δ 18O profile suggests that the principal peaks of methanesulfonate are associated with snow deposited in summer and autumn. A careful examination of MSA, SO4 2− and nssSO4 2− profiles indicates that two of the three peaks in the MSA profile may result mainly from migration and relocation of MSA. The mechanism responsible for this might be similar to that for deep cores from other Antarctic glaciers, supporting the migration hypothesis proposed by prior researchers and extending it to near-temperate ice. Due to the post-depositional modification, the main part of the MSA profile of the firn is no longer indicative of the seasonal pattern of MSA in the atmosphere, and the basis for calculation of the MSA/nssSO4 2− ratio should be changed. The MSA/nssS04 2 ratio obtained by a new computation is 0.22, 10% higher than that ignoring the effect of MSA migration.


Earth Systems Research Center

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Journal of Glaciology


Cambridge University Press

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© International Glaciological Society 2001.


This is an article published by Cambridge University Press.