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Sources and transport pathways of marine aerosol species into West Antarctica

  • S. Kaspari (a1), D.A. Dixon (a1), S.B. Sneed (a1) and M.J. Handley (a1)


Sixteen high-resolution marine aerosol (Na+, SO4 2–) records from spatially distributed International Trans-Antarctic Scientific Expedition (ITASE) ice cores spanning the last ~200 years from the Pine Island–Thwaites and Ross drainage systems and the South Pole are used to examine sources (sea spray and frost flowers) and transport pathways of marine aerosols into West Antarctica. Factors contributing to the amount of marine aerosols transported inland include sea-ice extent, the presence of open-water features (polynyas, leads), wind strength and direction, and the strength and positioning of low-pressure systems. Analysis of SO4 2–/Na+ ratios indicates that frost flowers can contribute significantly (40%) to the Na+ budget of Antarctic ice cores. Higher Na+ concentrations in the Ross drainage system may result from greater production of marine aerosols related to frost flowers in the Ross Sea region in association with greater sea-ice extent and larger open-water areas. Significant positive correlations of sea-ice extent and the Na+ time series exist in some regions of West Antarctica. Higher wind speeds in winter and higher Na+ concentrations when sea-level pressure is lower indicate that intensified atmospheric circulation enhances transport and production of marine aerosols.

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