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Sulfur isotopic measurements from a West Antarctic ice core: implications for sulfate source and transport

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Measurements of 34S covering the years 1935–76 and including the 1963 Agung (Indonesia) eruption were made on a West Antarctic firn core, RIDSA (78.73° S, 116.33° W; 1740 m a.s.l.), and results are used to unravel potential source functions in the sulfur cycle over West Antarctica. The 34S values of SO42− range from 3.1‰ to 9.9‰. These values are lower than those reported for central Antarctica, from near South Pole station, of 9.3–18.1‰ (Patris and others, 2000). While the Agung period is isotopically distinct at South Pole, it is not in the RIDSA dataset, suggesting differences in the source associations for the sulfur cycle between these two regions. Given the relatively large input of marine aerosols at RIDSA (determined from Na+ data and the seasonal SO42− cycle), there is likely a large marine biogenic SO42− influence. The 34S values indicate, however, that this marine biogenic SO42−, with a well-established 34S of 18‰, is mixing with SO42− that has extremely negative 34S values to produce the measured isotope values in the RIDSA core. We suggest that the transport and deposition of stratospheric SO42− in West Antarctica, combined with local volcanic input, accounts for the observed variance in 34S values.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2004

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  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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