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Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres

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Abstract/ Summary

An NH4+ record covering the period A.D. 1845-1997 was reconstructed using an 80.4 m ice core from East Rongbuk Glacier at an elevation of 6450 m on the northern slope of Mount Everest. Variations in NH4+ are characterized by a dramatic increase since the 1950s. The highest NH4+ concentrations occur in the 1980s. They are about twofold more than those in the first half of twentieth century. Empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis on the eight major ion (Na+,K+,Mg2+,NH4+,Ca2+,NO3-,SO42- and Cl-) series from this core indicates that NH4+ is loaded mainly on EOF3 (60% of NH4+ variance), suggesting that NH4+ has a unique signature. Instrumental sea level pressure (SLP) and regional temperatures are used to explore the relationship between NH4+ variations and both atmospheric circulation and natural source strength over Asia. Higher NH4+ concentrations are associated with an enhanced winter Mongolian High and a deepened summer Mongolian Low. A positive relationship also exists between NH4+ concentrations and regional temperature changes of the GIS Box 36 (Indian subcontinent), indicating that an increase in temperature may contribute to the strengthening of natural ammonia emissions (e. g., from plants and soils). A close positive correlation between NH4+ and acidic species (SO42- plus NO3-) concentrations suggests that a portion of the increase in NH4+ concentrations could be contributed by enhanced atmospheric acidification. Anthropogenic ammonia emissions from enhanced agricultural activities and energy consumption over Asia in concert with population increase since the 1950s appear also to be a significant factor in the dramatic increase of NH4+ concentrations during the last few decades.

Citation/Publisher Attribution

Kang, SC, Mayewski, PA, Qin, DH, Yan, YP, Zhang, DQ, Hou, SG, and Ren, JW, 2002, Twentieth Century Increase of Atmospheric Ammonia Recorded in Mount Everest Ice Core: Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, v. 107, p. 4595. To view the published open abstract, go to and enter the DOI.

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© Copyright 2002 American Geophysical Union




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