In January 1987, an 7.8 m core, with an age at the bottom of 26 years, was collected from a site approximately 150 km inland from Halley Station (77°02.2′S, 22°32′W; altitude 1862 m a.s.l.); 10 m temperature ≈ −30°C; accumulation rate ≈ 14 g cm−2 a−1). The site lies some 140 km from the coast of the Weddell Sea and within the area bounded in winter by the polar vortex.
The core has been analysed at a frequency of ≈28 samples per accumulation year for sulphate, nitrate and chloride, and has been dated stratigraphically from the clear seasonal cycles in non sea salt sulphate (Mulvaney and Peel, 1988). With this resolution it is possible to examine the seasonal pattern of deposition of chemical species and their phase relationships.
Of particular interest is the possibility that ice cores may preserve evidence for disturbances in tropospheric chemistry, associated with the recent spring-time depletion of stratospheric ozone. It has been proposed that this is accompanied by a denitrification of the stratosphere during the winter months, implying enhanced levels of NOX in the late winter/spring troposphere and in precipitation. Our data reveal a strong seasonal signal in nitrate deposition, apparently peaking in spring. Similar behaviour has been reported by Wagenbach and others (1988) for nitrate in the atmospheric aerosol, in a 3-year sequence (1983–86) from Georg von Neumayer Station (70°S, 8°W). There does not appear to be any evidence in our data of an increase in spring-time nitrate deposition since the appearance of the Antarctic ozone hole in 1978.