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Seasonal changes in snow water equivalent and chemical properties on Gourlay Snowfield and Tuva Glacier, Signy Island, Antarctica, 2012-2013
GB/NERC/BAS/PDC/00928

Summary

Abstract:
Between December 2012 and March 2013, snow measurements were conducted at both Gourlay Snowfield and Tuva Glacier, Signy Island. Sites are denoted 'TX' and 'GY', where 'X' and 'Y' are numbers representing one of nine snowpits in a grid at Tuva and Gourlay respectively. Measurements include snow water equivalent and chemical properties.

Snow thickness was measured during the surveys (and opportunistically following fresh snowfall events) at all 18 snow pits using an avalanche probe (average of 3 readings per sampling site). Snow density was also assessed at each site using a 1L pvc. snow tube. The thickness of the superimposed ice was measured at the beginning and at the end of the season after excavation using an ice axe. In order to calculate the proportion of the total winter accumulation that was transformed into superimposed ice by refreezing, its density was assumed to be 0.9 kg L-1.

Three surveys at each of the 18 sites were conducted for biogeochemical conditions: 'top' refers to the upper 20cm; 'mid' refers to the rest of the snow; and 'ice' is the basal ice (refrozen snowmelt on top of last summer's surface). Key chemical properties determined include pH, dissolved organic carbon, total dissolved inorganic carbon, ammonium, chlorophyll and major ions.

Funding was provided by the NERC grants NE/H014446/1 and NE/H014802/1.

Keywords:
Biogeochemistry, Glacier, Signy Island, Snow

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