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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2020-255
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2020-255
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  25 Sep 2020

25 Sep 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

Spatial and temporal variations in snow chemistry along a traverse from coastal East Antarctica to the ice sheet summit (Dome A)

Guitao Shi1,2, Hongmei Ma2, Zhengyi Hu2, Zhenlou Chen1, Chunlei An2, Su Jiang2, Yuansheng Li2, Tianming Ma2, Jinhai Yu2, Danhe Wang1, Siyu Lu2, Bo Sun2, and Meredith G. Hastings3 Guitao Shi et al.
  • 1Key Laboratory of Geographic Information Science (Ministry of Education), School of Geographic Sciences and State Key Lab of Estuarine and Coastal Research, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241, China
  • 2Polar Research Institute of China, Shanghai 200062, China
  • 3Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences and Institute at Brown for Environment and Society, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island 02912, USA

Abstract. There is a large variability in environmental conditions across the Antarctic ice sheet, and it is of significance to investigate the snow chemistry at as many locations as possible and over time, given that the ice sheet itself, and precipitation and deposition patterns and trends are changing. The China inland Antarctic traverse from coastal Zhongshan Station to the ice sheet summit (Dome A) covers a variety of environments, allowing for a vast collection of snow chemistry conditions across East Antarctica. Surface snow and snow pit samples were collected on this traverse during five campaigns, to comprehensively investigate the spatial and temporal variations in chemical ions (Cl, NO3, SO42−, Na+, NH4+, K+, Mg2+, and Ca2+) and the related controlling factors. Results show that spatial patterns of ions in surface snow are consistent among the five campaigns, with Cl, Na+, K+, and Mg2+ decreasing rapidly with distance from the coast and NO3 showing an opposite pattern. No clear spatial trends in SO42−, NH4+ and Ca2+ were found. In the interior areas, an enrichment of Cl versus Na+ with respect to seawater composition is ubiquitous as a result of the deposition of HCl, which can account for up to ~40 % of the total Cl budget, while enriched K+ and Mg2+ are associated with terrestrial particle mass. Ca2+ and SO42− in surface snow are significantly enriched relative to Na+, related to terrestrial dust inputs and marine biogenic emissions, respectively. Snow NH4+ is mainly associated with marine biological activities, with higher concentrations in summer than in winter. On the coast, parts of the winter snow are characterized with a depletion of SO42− versus Na+, and a significant negative correlation between nssSO42− and Na+ was found, suggesting that sea salts originated from the sea ice. In the interior areas, the negative nssSO42− signal in winter snow resulted from inputs of sea salts being completely swamped by the contribution of marine biogenic emissions. Ternary plots of Cl, Na+, and SO42− suggest that sea salt modification is generally negligible on the coast, while the degree of modification processes to sea salts is high in the interior areas, especially during the summertime. Ion flux assessment suggests an efficient transport of nssSO42− to at least as far inland as the ~2800 m contour line. The interannual variations in ion concentrations in surface snow on the traverse are likely linked to the changes in the Southern Indian Ocean low (SIOL) from year to year, and the deepening of the SIOL in summer tends to promote the transport of marine aerosols to Princess Elizabeth Land.

Guitao Shi et al.

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Latest update: 25 Oct 2020
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Short summary
It is significant to understand atmospheric chemistry over Antarctica under a changing climate. Thus snow samples collected on a traverse from coast to Dome A during 5 seasons were used to investigate spatio-temporal variations in snow chemistry. Sea salt modification is notable in inland snow, with enriched K+, Mg2+ and Ca2+ mainly from terrestrial inputs. Sea salt modification is minor in coastal snow. The interannual variations in snow ions are likely linked to the Southern Indian Ocean low.
It is significant to understand atmospheric chemistry over Antarctica under a changing climate....
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