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During the austral summer of 1993-94 a number of 1-2 m deep snow pits were sampled in connection with firn-coring in western Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica. The traverse went from 800 to about 3000 m a.s.l. upon the high-altitude plateau. Profiles of cations (Na+, K+, Mg2+, Ca2+), anions (Cl−, NO3-, SO4 2- , CH3SO3 −) and stable oxygen isotopes (δ18O) from 11 snow pils are presented here. Close to the coast 2 m of snow accumulates in about 2-3 years, whilst at sites on the high-altitude plateau 2 m of snow accumulates in 10—14 years. The spatial variation in ion concentrations shows that the ions can be divided into two groups, one with sea-salt elements and methane sulfonate and the other with nitrate and sulfate. For the sca-salt elements and methane sulfonate the concentrations decrease with increasing altitude and increasing distance from the coast, as well as with decreasing temperature and decreasing accumulation rate. For nitrate and sulfate the concentrations are constant or increase with respect to these parameters. This pattern suggests that the sources for sca-salt elements and methane sulfonate are local, whereas the sources for nitrate and sulfate are a mixture of local and long-range transport.


Earth Systems Research Center

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Annals of Glaciology


Cambridge University Press

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© International Glaciological Society 1998.


This is an article published by Cambridge University Press.