Chemical composition and shape of snow crystals in Antarctica

Prodi, F. and Belosi, F. and Santachiara, G. and Contini, D. and Di Matteo, L. and Grasso, F. (2008) Chemical composition and shape of snow crystals in Antarctica. Il nuovo cimento C, 31 (2). pp. 157-173. ISSN 1826-9885

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Fresh snow samples collected in a coastal Antarctic site (Terra Nova Bay) were examined by considering both the chemical composition and ice Crystal shape. Measured concentrations in snow samples show that nucleation is the dominant aerosol scavenging process. An additional contribution from phoretic forces to aerosol scavenging during growth of ice crystals can be deduced from the correlation between non sea-salt sulphate (nss-SO2−4) and methanesulfonic acid (MSA) measured in snow samples. The sea-salt contribution is dominant, as usually observed in the coastal Antarctic stations. By determining sea-salt from Na+ concentration, the values of 4400 μg l−1; 2400 μg l−1; 2900 μg l−1; 650 μg l−1 were obtained for the examined samples. The NO−3 /Na+ ratio in fresh snow (range 0.1–0.6), much higher than the value in sea-water (about 10−4), excludes a marine origin for NO−3 ion, suggesting a continental and/or stratospheric source. Organic compounds (propionate, acetate, formate, MSA and glycolate) were in addition measured in snow samples. Ice crystal replicas were made by collecting crystals on microscope slides, previously covered with a thin layer of 2% formvar in chloroform. Samples were analyzed by a scanning electron microscope (SEM). A large variety of ice crystal habits (needles, hexagonal plates, crystals with branches, dendritic crystals, etc.) were observed. In the examined replicas of different events, cases are noted in which simple plates are prevalent, others in which prevalently complex crystal shapes are observed, and others again in which simple and complex crystal shapes are present simultaneously.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Snow ; Particles and aerosols
Subjects: 500 Scienze naturali e Matematica > 530 Fisica
Depositing User: Marina Spanti
Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2020 15:29
Last Modified: 23 Mar 2020 15:29

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