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Antarctic Journal of the United States


National Science Foundation

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Abstract/ Summary

Time-series of the ionic composition in polar ice cores can provide detailed direct and proxy records of seasonal to Millenial scale fluctuations in climate, atmospheric chemistry, and volcanic activity. Even though problems of species-source links and air/snow fractionation have not all been entirely resolved,the fact remains that ice cores currently hold the best hope of retrieving detailed paleo-atmospheric records. While direct links between the chemistry in ice cores and the ozone depletion phenomenon cannot be guaranteed, ice-core records provide the only means by which signals related to the ozone cycle can be produced for pre-measurement periods or for unmonitored sites. We propose that measurements of nitrate and/or chloride in polar snow/ice samples may provide proxy records of ozone depletion because of the role these species play in the ozone cycle (e.g., see summary review by Schoeberl and Krueger 1986). Heterogeneous chemical reactions in the ant-arctic atmosphere involving catalyzing agents such as chlorine monoxide, bromine monoxide, and/or nitrogen oxides are known to be effective in reducing ozone concentrations through their effect on the general reaction: oxygen plus ozone forms 202(e.g., McElroy et al. 1986a). Removal of nitrogen oxides by condensation from polar stratospheric clouds (e.g., Toon et al.1986; McElroy et al. 1986b; Crutzen and Arnold 1986) triggered particularly by cooling in the stratosphere helps set the stage for more efficient removal of ozone by reactions with chlorine monoxide and bromine monoxide (e.g., McElroy et al. 1986a). These reactions may result in increased concentrations of nitrate and chloride in polar snow/ice cores.

Citation/Publisher Attribution

Mayewski, P.A., Spencer, M.J., Lyons, W.B., Twickler, M.S. & Dibb, J. (1988). Ice core records and ozone depletion―Potential for a proxy ozone record. Antarctic Journal of the United States. 23(5): 64-68.

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