University of Oulu

Environmental information from the Svalbard ice core for the past 800 years

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Author: Kekonen, Teija1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Science, Department of Chemistry
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.9 MB)
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Language: English
Published: 2006
Publish Date: 2006-08-29
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic Dissertation to be presented with the assent of the Faculty of Science, University of Oulu, for public discussion in Kajaaninsali (Auditorium L6), Linnanmaa, on September 8th, 2006, at 12 noon
Reviewer: Associate Professor Kumiko Goto-Azuma
Doctor Christian Zdanowicz


Major water soluble ions (Cl-, NO3-, SO42-, CH3SO3-, Na+, K+, NH4+, Mg2+, Ca2+) were determined and the results interpreted from a 121 m long ice core drilled at the summit of the Lomonosovfonna dome, Svalbard. The core covers about the past 800 years. The reliability of anion chemistry for paleoenvironmental studies, and various insoluble particles were also investigated. The ice core studied in this Thesis is the first relatively deep ice core from the central Svalbard that has been analyzed and the results interpreted and published at high resolution for all major ions.

One of the clearest features of the ion profiles is anthropogenic impact. SO42- and NO3- concentrations show significant increases by the mid-20th century with slight increases already at the end of the 19th century. In addition excess Cl- and NH4+ from anthropogenic sources are detected arriving after the mid-20th century. Anthropogenically derived SO42- and NO3- have different sources on Lomonosovfonna. NO3- is correlated with NH4+ and requires interpretation in terms of both natural and anthropogenic NH4NO3 sources.

The ice core ionic load consists mostly of sea salt ions (Na+, Cl-, K+ and Mg2+). Water soluble Ca2+ are mostly terrestrial in origin. Ion balance together with the Na+/Cl- ratio shows considerable change about 1730 that is most probably due to Na2CO3 input to the ice cap before 1730. Marine biogenic CH3SO3- concentrations are high and stable during the Little Ice Age. CH3SO3- concentrations show a clear change in concentrations in 1920, that is the end of the Little Ice Age in Svalbard. Regardless of anthropogenic impact, marine biogenic SO42- is appreciable in total SO42- budget even in the 20th century.

The Laki volcanic eruption in Iceland in 1783 is identified in the ice core as a volcanic tephra layer and high SO42- concentration and acidity peaks. These show that SO42- arrived to the Lomonosovfonna ice cap 6–12 months later than insoluble tephra and the SO42- aerosol caused a drop in temperature.

The reliability of ice core ion chemistry analyses was estimated – for the first time in an ice core using two different analytical procedures on 500 adjacent samples from the same depth. Small-scale inhomogeneity in ion concentrations shows that information from ice core layers is representative of the regional environmental and suitable for paleoclimate studies.

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Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. A, Scientiae rerum naturalium
ISSN-E: 1796-220X
ISBN: 951-42-8185-3
ISBN Print: 951-42-8184-5
Issue: 469
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 2006. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.