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Post-depositional movement of methanesulphonic acid at Law Dome, Antarctica, and the influence of accumulation rate

  • Mark A.J. Curran (a1), Anne S. Palmer (a2), Tas D. van Ommen (a1), Vin I. Morgan (a1), Katrina L. Phillips (a2), Alison J. McMorrow (a2) and Paul A. Mayewski (a3)...

Abstract

A series of ice cores from sites with different snow-accumulation rates across Law Dome, East Antarctica, was investigated for methanesulphonic acid (MSA) movement. the precipitation at these sites (up to 35 km apart) is influenced by the same air masses, the principal difference being the accumulation rate. At the low-accumulation-rate W20k site (0.17m ice equivalent), MSAwas completely relocated from the summer to winter layer. Moderate movement was observed at the intermediate-accumulation-rate site (0.7m ice equivalent), Dome Summit South (DSS), while there was no evidence of movement at the high-accumulation-rate DE08 site (1.4m ice equivalent). the main DSS record of MSA covered the epoch AD 1727–2000 and was used to investigate temporal post-depositional changes. Co-deposition of MSA and sea-salt ions was observed in the surface layers, outside of the main summer MSA peak,which complicates interpretation of these peaks as evidence of movement in deeper layers. A seasonal study of the 273 year DSS record revealed MSA migration predominantly from summer into autumn (in the up-core direction), but this migration was suppressed during the Tambora (1815) and unknown (1809) volcanic eruption period, and enhanced during an epoch (1770–1800) with high summer nitrate levels. A complex interaction between the gradients in nss-sulphate, nitrate and sea salts (which are influenced by accumulation rate) is believed to control the rate and extent of movement of MSA.

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References

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