THE IONIC BALANCE OF ANTARCTIC SNOW: A 10-YEAR DETAILED RECORD

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Abstract

The concentrations at the 1–100 ngg−1 level of seven major ions (H+, SO2−4, NO3, Cl, Na+, NH+4 and K+) of South Pole snow were determined in 100 samples representing the continuous time period 1959–1969. The ionic balance in South Polar snow is achieved for the first time and the existence of the three strong mineral acids H2SO4, HNO3 and HCl is demonstrated. It is found that NH+4 concentrations are an order of magnitude less than that of acid species. With the aid of the clear seasonal patterns exhibited by the depth profiles of several of the measured ions, we review the different natural sources contributing to the aerosol at the South Pole: These include sea spray, volcanoes, biogenic activity and nitrogen fixation.

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