Particulate and water-soluble carbon measured in recent snow at Summit, Greenland


Water-soluble organic carbon (WSOC), water-insoluble particulate organic carbon (WIOC), and particulate elemental carbon (EC) were measured simultaneously for the first time on the Greenland Ice Sheet in surface snow and in a 3-meter snow pit. Snow pit concentrations reveal that, on average, WSOC makes up the majority (89%) of carbonaceous species, followed by WIOC (10%) and EC (1%). The enhancement of OC relative to EC (ratio 99:1) in Greenland snow suggests that, along with atmospheric particulate matter, gaseous organics contribute to snow-phase OC. Comparison of summer surface snow concentrations in 2006 with past summer snow pit layers (2002-2005) found a significant depletion in WSOC (20-82%) and WIOC (46-65%) relative to EC for 3 of the 4 years. The apparent substantial loss of WSOC and WIOC in aged snow suggests that post-depositional processes, such as photochemical reactions, need to be considered in linking ice core records of organics to atmospheric concentrations. Copyright 2007 by the American Geophysical Union.