Journal Article Chemistry of snow cover and acidic snowfall during a season with a high level of air pollution on the Hans Glacier, Spitsbergen

10 ( 3 )  , pp.249 - 261 , 2016-09
The central Arctic is within the range of air pollution transported from industrial areas of Eurasia and North America. A poor network of weather stations means that there is limited information available about air quality and contaminant deposition in the Arctic environment. For this reason seasonal snow cover is an important source of information. Chemical properties of precipitation, snow cover and fresh snow were monitored at the Hornsund Polish Polar Station (Spitsbergen) and in the altitude profile of the Hans Glacier. Meteorological data from the coast and the glacier helped to examine in detail the impact of atmospheric processes on snow cover contamination. The episode with extremely acidic precipitation was recognized in snow cover analysed in spring 2006. The source area of pollution and type of synoptic situation which enhanced transfer of pollution to the European Arctic were identified. Changes in snow chemistry in the altitude profile demonstrated the impact of the atmospheric boundary layer on chemical properties of precipitation and snow cover. Non-sea salt SO2 emissions and the role of nitrate in acidification should be considered a serious threat to the Arctic environment.

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