An ice core extracted from Holtedahlfonna ice cap, western Spitsbergen, record spanning the period 1700–2005, was analyzed for major ions. The leading empirical orthogonal function (EOF) component is correlated with an index of summer melt (log([Na+]/[Mg2+]) from 1850 and shows that almost 50% of the variance can be attributed to seasonal melting since the beginning of the industrial revolution. The Holtedahlfonna δ
18O value is less negative than in the more easterly Lomonosovfonna ice core, suggesting that moist air masses originate from a closer source, most likely the Greenland Sea. During the Little Ice Age the lower methanesulfonic acid (MSA) concentration and MSA non-sea-salt sulfate fraction are consistent with the Greenland Sea as the main source for biogenic ions in the ice cores. Both the melt index and the MSA fraction suggest that the early decades of the 18th century may have exhibited the coldest summers of the last 300 years in Svalbard. Ammonium concentrations rise from 1880, which may result from the warming of the Greenland Sea or from zonal differences in atmospheric pollution transport over Svalbard. During winter, neutralized aerosols are trapped within the tropospheric inversion layer, which is usually weaker over open seas than over sea ice, placing Holtedahlfonna within the inversion more frequently than Lomonosovfonna.