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The preservation of methanesulphonic acid in frozen ice-core samples

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Ice-core records of methanesulphonic acid (MSA) provide a potentially powerful tool for producing proxy records of sea ice, a critical but poorly understood component of the Earth's climate system. However, MSA is able to diffuse through solid ice, and here we examine the effect of two different methods of frozen storage on the preservation of MSA in archived ice-core samples. Re-analysis of archived ice sticks confirms that MSA diffuses out of ice cores archived in this manner. Despite MSA losses of up to 39% after 7 years storage, the ice sticks studied here preserve much of the variability of the original MSA record, suggesting that useful proxy records can be obtained from archived ice sticks. Furthermore, re-analysis of ice-core samples that had been refrozen into discrete bottled samples for storage demonstrates that it is possible to archive ice samples in a way that prevents MSA loss. In this case, accurate records of MSA variability and concentration were preserved even over storage periods of 15 years. This has important implications for the storage of ice cores and subsequent determination of MSA, and demonstrates that ice storage history needs to be considered when interpreting MSA records.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2008

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Glaciology is published six times per year. It accepts submissions from any discipline related to the study of snow and ice. All articles are peer reviewed. The Journal is included in the ISI Science Citation Index.
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