Post-depositional loss of nitrate and chloride in Antarctic snow by photolysis and sublimation: a field investigation

Keywords: Antarctica, geochemical cycle, nitrogen cycle, nitrogen oxides, ozone


Nitrate in snow is subject to post-depositional processing, which leads to a net loss and redistribution within the snowpack. The relative importance of post-depositional loss processes such as the volatilization of nitric acid (HNO3) and photolysis of nitrate has long been debated. Changes in nitrate and chloride concentrations in the snowpack were investigated at H128 (69°23.584’S, 41°33.712’E), an Antarctic coastal site approximately 100 km from Syowa Station in East Antarctica from December 2015 to February 2016. Results indicate that chloride migrated to deeper sites within the snowpack under the influence of water vapour movement. Moreover, 50% of the nitrate on surface snow was lost to photolysis, and approximately 20% of the nitrate was absent at a depth of 40 cm. To enhance our knowledge of the Antarctic geochemical cycle, this study is the first to suggest chloride ion movement in snowpacks or significant nitrate loss for any Antarctic coastal site.


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How to Cite
Noro, K., & Takenaka, N. (2020). Post-depositional loss of nitrate and chloride in Antarctic snow by photolysis and sublimation: a field investigation. Polar Research, 39.
Research Articles