Project

Back to overview

The impact of the physical micro-environment of impurities in snow on their re-distribution during metamorphism, chemical reactivity, and transfer to ice core archives.

Applicant Bartels-Rausch Thorsten
Number 155999
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Paul Scherrer Institut
Institution of higher education Paul Scherrer Institute - PSI
Main discipline Hydrology, Limnology, Glaciology
Start/End 01.05.2015 - 31.08.2019
Approved amount 765'918.00
Show all

All Disciplines (4)

Discipline
Hydrology, Limnology, Glaciology
Climatology. Atmospherical Chemistry, Aeronomy
Other disciplines of Earth Sciences
Inorganic Chemistry

Keywords (18)

growing ice; microinclusions; microanalysis; ice core; stable isotopes; solid solution; snow chemistry; Antarctica; Polar; cryosphere; Dust; uptake; non-equilibrium; Alpine glaciers; metamorphism; Halogen; Ozone; sea-salt

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Schnee und Eis enthält eine Vielzahl chemischer Verbindungen, welche aus der Atmosphäre eingelagert worden sind. In Gletschern der Polargebiete und im Hochgebirge können diese Verunreinigungen für lange Zeit konserviert werden. Die Konzentrationen der Substanzen in Gletschereis werden daher dazu genutzt, die chemische Zusammensetzung der Atmosphäre in vergangen Zeiten zu rekonstruieren. Ein Teil der chemischen Verunreinigungen wird allerdings auch chemisch umgesetzt. Feldstudien in den letzten Jahrzehnten haben eine daraus resultierende Freisetzung von Spurengasen und von Umweltgiften in die Atmosphäre oder die Ozeane bzw. Flüsse gezeigt. In diesem Projekt wurde Untersucht wie die Schneealterung (Metamorphose) die Konservierung und Reaktiviert der Verunreinigung bereinflusst.
Lay summary

Wie chemische Verunreinigungen im Schnee genau gelagert werden und ob sich die chemische Reaktivität je nach Art dieser Lagerung unterscheidet, ist derzeit wenig bekannt. In diesem Zusammenhang widmen wir der Frage, wie die chemischen Verbindungen im Schnee auf Umlagerungen in der Schneestruktur reagieren, grosse Aufmerksamkeit. Solche Umlagerungen der Schneestruktur selber sind seit längerem etwa Gegenstand der Lawinenforschung, ob diese auch die chemische Reaktivität im Schnee und die Einlagerung der Spurenstoffe in das Gletschereis beeinflussen, ist weitgehend offen.

Ziel

Ziel dieses Pilotprojektes ist es, die räumliche Verteilung von Verunreinigungen zu untersuchen und deren Umverteilung während der Alterung des Schnees mit den einhergehenden Änderungen in der Schneestruktur zu beobachten. Des Weiteren sind Untersuchungen zur chemischen Reaktivität und zur Konservierung der Substanzen im Schnee und Gletschereis geplant.

Ergebnis

Wir konnten zeigen, dass die in der Natur allgegenwärtige Dynamik der Schneestruktur und damit verbundene physikalische Umlagerungen während der Schnee-Metamorphose Auswirkungen auf die chemische Reaktivität, auf die Konservierung von Spurenstoffen und auf die Konservierung des Wasser-Isotopensignals hat. 

* Reaktive Spurenstoffe, wie etwa Komponenten aus Seesalz, werden durch diese Dynamik des Schnees von der Oberfläche der Schneestruktur ins Innere der Schneematrix umgelagert. Das verringert in kurzer Zeit ihre Reaktivität mit Spurengasen, da die Spurenstoffe nicht mehr von den Gasen erreicht werden können. 

* Die Umlagerung der Spurenstoffe führt auch dazu, dass einige besser konserviert werden. An der Oberfläche können Spurenstoffe von Schmelzwasser weggewaschen werden. Im Inneren des Schnees sind sie davor geschützt und stehen so als Indikator für die Zusammensetzung der Atmosphäre in vergangenen Zeiten zur Verfügung. Dies ist besonders mit Hinblick auf den Klimawandel wichtig, da Schmelzvorgänge in Gletschern nun häufiger vorkommen. 

* Wir konnten ebenfalls zeigen, dass das Isotopensignal des Schnees durch diese Umlagerung modifiziert werden kann. Dies ist wichtig, da dieses Signal zur Rekonstruktion des Klimas der Vergangenheit verwendet wird.  

Wissenschaftlicher und gesellschaftlicher Kontext des Forschungsprojekts.

Dieses Projekt untersucht, wie die bekannte Dynamik des Schnees den Verbleib von chemischen Verunreinigungen beeinflusst. Dieses Wissen ist essentiell, um Umweltbeobachtungen zu verstehen und um diese in globalen Modellen zu beschreiben. 

 

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 11.10.2019

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
White and wonderful? Microplastics prevail in snow from the Alps to the Arctic
Bergmann Melanie, Mützel Sophia, Primpke Sebastian, Tekman Mine B., Trachsel Jürg, Gerdts Gunnar (2019), White and wonderful? Microplastics prevail in snow from the Alps to the Arctic, in Science Advances, 5(8), eaax1157-eaax1157.
Microscale Rearrangement of Ammonium Induced by Snow Metamorphism
Trachsel Jürg C., Avak Sven E., Edebeli Jacinta, Schneebeli Martin, Bartels-Rausch Thorsten, Bruetsch Sabina, Eichler Anja (2019), Microscale Rearrangement of Ammonium Induced by Snow Metamorphism, in Frontiers in Earth Science, 7, 194.
Melt‐Induced Fractionation of Major Ions and Trace Elements in an Alpine Snowpack
Avak Sven E., Trachsel Jürg C., Edebeli Jacinta, Brütsch Sabina, Bartels‐Rausch Thorsten, Schneebeli Martin, Schwikowski Margit, Eichler Anja (2019), Melt‐Induced Fractionation of Major Ions and Trace Elements in an Alpine Snowpack, in Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, 124(7), 1647-1657.
HONO, Particulate Nitrite, and Snow Nitrite at a Midlatitude Urban Site during Wintertime
Chen Qianjie, Edebeli Jacinta, McNamara Stephen M., Kulju Kathryn D., May Nathaniel W., Bertman Steven B., Thanekar Sham, Fuentes Jose D., Pratt Kerri A. (2019), HONO, Particulate Nitrite, and Snow Nitrite at a Midlatitude Urban Site during Wintertime, in ACS Earth and Space Chemistry, 3(5), 811-822.
Microphysics of the aqueous bulk counters the water activity driven rate acceleration of bromide oxidation by ozone from 289–245 K
Edebeli Jacinta, Ammann Markus, Bartels-Rausch Thorsten (2019), Microphysics of the aqueous bulk counters the water activity driven rate acceleration of bromide oxidation by ozone from 289–245 K, in Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts, 21(1), 63-73.
Impact and implications of meltwater percolation on trace element records observed in a high-Alpine ice core
Avak Sven Erik, Schwikowski Margit, Eichler Anja (2018), Impact and implications of meltwater percolation on trace element records observed in a high-Alpine ice core, in Journal of Glaciology, 64(248), 877-886.
A surface-stabilized ozonide triggers bromide oxidation at the aqueous solution-vapour interface
Artiglia Luca, Edebeli Jacinta, Orlando Fabrizio, Chen Shuzhen, Lee Ming-Tao, Corral Arroyo Pablo, Gilgen Anina, Bartels-Rausch Thorsten, Kleibert Armin, Vazdar Mario, Andres Carignano Marcelo, Francisco Joseph S., Shepson Paul B., Gladich Ivan, Ammann Markus (2017), A surface-stabilized ozonide triggers bromide oxidation at the aqueous solution-vapour interface, in Nature Communications, 8(1), 700-700.

Datasets

Weissfluhjoch, Swiss Alps 2017 Snowpit Major Ions and Trace Element Data

Author Avak, Sven
Publication date 19.06.2019
Persistent Identifier (PID) noaa-icecore-26750
Repository NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) data center for paleoclimate
Abstract
Major ions and trace elements data from 5 snow pits at the Weissfluhjoch, Switzerland. Snow pits were taken on the following dates in 2017: 25 January, 22 February, 21 March, 17 April, and 1 June. Concentration values are given for the different depths of the 5 snow pits.

Grenzgletscher, Swiss Alps, Ice Core Trace Element Concentration Data 1980-1994

Author Avak, Sven
Publication date 10.10.2019
Persistent Identifier (PID) noaa-icecore-27890
Repository NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) data center for paleoclimate
Abstract
35 trace elements were measured in a 50 m segment of an ice core from upperGrenzgletscher, Switzerland covering the period 1980-1994. An inflow of meltwater disturbed the concentration records of selected trace elements in the period 1985-1989. Concentration values are given in monthly resolution.No data are available for the period 1982.42-1982.50 and 1991.25-1991.67.

Microphysics of the aqueous bulk counters the water activity driven rate acceleration of bromide oxidation by ozone from 289–245 K

Author Edebeli, Jacinta; Ammann, Markus; Bartels-Rausch, Thorsten
Publication date 09.10.2019
Persistent Identifier (PID) 10.1039/c8em00417j
Repository envidat.ch
Abstract
Microphysics of the aqueous bulk counters rate acceleration of bromide oxidation by ozone at low temperatures.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Franziska Scholder-Aemisegger, IAC/ETHZ Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Kerri Pratt/University of Michigan United States of America (North America)
- Exchange of personnel
Jamie Donaldson/Universtiy of Toronto Canada (North America)
- Exchange of personnel
Melanie Bergmann, AWI Germany (Europe)
- Publication
Christoph A. Heinrich/ETHZ Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
WSL Research Day Poster Snow Stratigraphy Around The Globe: Microstructure for Applications in Cryospheric Science 25.06.2019 Birmenstorf, Switzerland Trachsel Jürg;
European Geosciences Union General Assembly (EGU) Poster Preferential loss of trace elements from melting Alpine snow and glacier ice 07.04.2019 Vienna, Austria Eichler Anja;
Seminar of the PSI Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry Individual talk Impact and Implications of Melting on the Preservation of Trace Elements in High-Alpine Snow and Glacier Ice 26.10.2018 Villigen, Switzerland Avak Sven;
15th IGAC Science Conference Poster Molecular investigation of bromide reaction on sea-spray aerosol proxy: temperature dependence and the effect of organics 25.09.2018 Takamatsu, Japan Edebeli Jacinta; Bartels-Rausch Thorsten;
SCAR/IASC Open Science Conference Talk given at a conference Investigating the Microscopic Location of Trace Elements in Glacier Ice 19.06.2018 Davos, Switzerland Avak Sven;
Polar 2018: SCAR/IASC Open Science Conference Poster Post-depositional Changes of δ18O in Snow 19.06.2018 Davos, Switzerland Trachsel Jürg;
Seminar of the PSI Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry Individual talk MISO - Microscale Distribution of Impurites in Snow 18.05.2018 Villigen, Switzerland Trachsel Jürg;
2nd Cross-Divisional Poster Event at PSI Poster Impact and Implications of Meltwater Percolation on Trace Element Records Observed in a High-Alpine Ice Core 26.04.2018 Villigen, Switzerland Eichler Anja; Bartels-Rausch Thorsten; Avak Sven;
European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2018 Talk given at a conference Halogen activation in a proxy for sea salt aerosols from 16 °C to -25 °C: Effect of organics on reactive ozone uptake. 12.04.2018 Wien, Austria Bartels-Rausch Thorsten; Edebeli Jacinta;
The 14th international conference on the Physics and Chemistry of Ice (PCI) Poster Bulk and surface reactivity in frozen mixtures 07.01.2018 Zürich, Switzerland Bartels-Rausch Thorsten;
14th International Conference on the Physics and Chemistry of Ice Talk given at a conference Investigating the Microscopic Location of Trace Elements in Glacier Ice 07.01.2018 Zürich, Switzerland Avak Sven;
14th International Conference on the Physics and Chemistry of Ice (PCI) Talk given at a conference Microscale distribution of major ions in snow 07.01.2018 Zürich, Switzerland Trachsel Jürg; Bartels-Rausch Thorsten; Avak Sven;
Swiss Geoscience Meeting Talk given at a conference Fundamentals of Multiphase Chemistry at the Surface of Environmental Snow 18.11.2017 Davos, Switzerland Bartels-Rausch Thorsten;
15th Swiss Geo Science Meeting (SGM) Poster Microscale Distribution of Impurities in Snow 17.11.2017 Davos, Switzerland Trachsel Jürg;
Snow Surface Isotope Workshop, Kopenhagen Talk given at a conference Stable Water isotopes in an Alpine Snowpack 02.11.2017 Kopenhagen, Denmark Trachsel Jürg;
Seminar of the PSI Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry Individual talk Grenzgletscher and Weissfluhjoch – Two Unique Sites in the Swiss Alps to Study the Microscopic Location of Trace Elements in Glacier Ice and Snow 22.09.2017 Villigen, Switzerland Avak Sven;
16th International Swiss Climate Summer School Poster Investigating the Microscopic Location of Trace Elements in High-Alpine Glacier Ice 03.09.2017 Ascona, Switzerland Avak Sven;
Faraday Discussions: Atmospheric Chemistry in the Anthropocene Poster Ozone reaction with bromide in an aerosol proxy from -25°C to 16°C 22.05.2017 York, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Edebeli Jacinta; Bartels-Rausch Thorsten;
European Geosciences Union General Assembly (EGU) Individual talk Investigating the Microscopic Location of Trace Elements in High-Alpine Glacier Ice 23.04.2017 Vienna, Austria Avak Sven;
International Global Atmospheric Chemistry (IGAC) workshop: The Cryosphere and ATmospheric CHemistry (CATCH) Poster Halogen activation over snow and ice doped with NaBr aerosols 20.04.2017 Guyancourt, France Bartels-Rausch Thorsten; Edebeli Jacinta;
Seminar of the PSI Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry Individual talk Investigating the Microscopic Location of Trace Elements in High-Alpine Glacier Ice (Oral presentation 21.10.2016 Villigen, Switzerland Avak Sven;
International Global Atmospheric Chemistry (IGAC) Project 2016 Science Conference Poster Temperature dependence of bromine activation due to reaction of bromide with ozone in a proxy for aerosols and sea ice 29.09.2016 Breckenridge, United States of America Edebeli Jacinta; Bartels-Rausch Thorsten;
DCB First Year Graduate Student Symposium Individual talk Investigating the Microscopic Location of Trace Elements in High-Alpine Glacier Ice 12.09.2016 Bern, Switzerland Avak Sven;
European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2016 Poster Temperature dependence of bromine activation due to reaction with ozone in a proxy for organic aerosols 21.04.2016 Wien, Austria Bartels-Rausch Thorsten; Edebeli Jacinta;
2nd IPICS Open Science Conference Poster Development of a Cryocell for High-Resolution Trace Element Analysis of Ice Cores 07.03.2016 Hobart, Australia Avak Sven; Eichler Anja;
Swiss Working Group for Surface and Interface Science SAOG Poster Surface reactions studied by coated wall flow tubes: Temperature dependence of O3 - Br reaction over NaBr films 22.01.2016 Fribourg, Switzerland Edebeli Jacinta;
SAOG - Swiss Working Group for Surface and Interface Science Poster Surface reactions studied by coated wall flow tubes: Temperature dependence of O3 - Br reaction over NaBr films 22.01.2016 Fribourg, Switzerland Bartels-Rausch Thorsten; Edebeli Jacinta;
Swiss Geoscience Meeting Poster Temperature dependence of ozone loss by reaction with NaBr films in coated wall flow tubes 20.11.2015 Basel, Switzerland Bartels-Rausch Thorsten; Edebeli Jacinta;
13th Swiss Geoscience Meeting Poster Development of a Cryocell for High-Resolution Trace Element Analysis of Ice Cores Using LA-ICP-MS 20.11.2015 Basel, Switzerland Avak Sven;
14th Swiss Geoscience Meeting Poster Development of a Cryocell LA-ICP-MS Setup for Spatial Trace Element Analysis in High Alpine Glacier Ice 18.11.2015 Geneva, Switzerland Avak Sven;


Self-organised

Title Date Place

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: radio, television Des microplastiques ont été retrouvés jusque dans les neiges de l'Arctique RTS Western Switzerland 2019
Media relations: print media, online media Es schneit Plastik – auch in den Schweizer Bergen Tagesanzeiger German-speaking Switzerland 2019
Media relations: radio, television Fiocchi di plastica RSI Italian-speaking Switzerland 2019
Media relations: print media, online media High levels of microplastics found in fresh snow Financial Times International 2019
Media relations: print media, online media Microplastics ‘significantly contaminating the air The Guardian International 2019
Media relations: radio, television Plastikteilchen sind überall – auch im Schnee Radio SRF German-speaking Switzerland 2019
Media relations: print media, online media Tiny pieces of plastic found in Arctic snow National Geographic International 2019
Media relations: radio, television Heimatland - Weisses Gold SRF 1 German-speaking Switzerland 2018
Media relations: print media, online media SLF SCHNEEFORSCHER JÜRG TRACHSEL POWDERGUIDE German-speaking Switzerland International 2018

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
178962 Interfacial Chemistry of Ice: Photolysis and Acid-Base Equilibria in the QLL and Brine 01.08.2018 Project funding (Div. I-III)
108219 Dynamics of snow metamorphism: observations of physical and chemical processes and microstructural multi-phase numerical simulation 01.11.2005 Project funding (Div. I-III)
141017 Measurement and simulation of snow metamorphism and effective transport properties under advective conditions using in-situ micro-tomography 01.07.2012 Project funding (Div. I-III)
146651 Mineral resources: Physical dynamics driving chemical enrichment of rare metals 01.04.2013 Project funding (Div. I-III)
143839 Snow dynamics: From microscopic experiments to macroscopic applications via dedicated mean-field modeling 01.07.2013 Project funding (Div. I-III)
125179 Structure-chemistry interaction during snow metamorphism 01.05.2009 Project funding (Div. I-III)
169176 Multiphase kinetics and chemistry at aqueous solution and mineral oxide - air interfaces 01.01.2017 Project funding (Div. I-III)
149629 Surface Sensitive Investigations of the Interaction of Atmospheric Acidic Trace Gases with Ice Surfaces 01.03.2014 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

Earth’s surface snow plays an active part in shaping Earth’s geochemical cycles (Bartels-Rausch 2012; Bartels-Rausch 2013; Grannas 2013). Research over the past decades has provided an impressive observational basis for the resulting large scale effects, such as substantial modification of the composition and of the chemical reactivity of the lowermost atmosphere in polar regions (Domine 2002; Simpson 2007; Abbatt 2012) and the ability of toxins to enter the marine food web (Wania 1998; Steffen 2008; Durnford 2011; Grannas 2013). Despite intensive research over the last decades in the field, in the laboratory, and using computer simulations (Abbatt 2013), our understanding of the underlying molecular processes is limited and sound predictions of chemical reactivity in surface snow can still not be given (Grannas 2007; Simpson 2007; Steffen 2008; Abbatt 2012; Bartels-Rausch 2012; McNeill 2012; Bartels-Rausch 2013; Domine 2013). A crucial limitation has been identified in the lag of well-defined snow samples for laboratory based process studies that allow both deriving precise kinetic data and extrapolation of the results to environmental settings (Bartels-Rausch 2014). Cold polar and alpine glaciers or ice sheets preserve the atmospheric composition from times long before the anthropogenic influence began. Past changes of climate, of air pollution, and of atmospheric transport mechanisms have been reconstructed from ice core records of water stable isotopes and from impurity concentrations - major and trace elements (Legrand 1997; Eichler 2012; Thompson 2013). These reconstructions rely on the implicit assumption that the snow composition is perfectly preserved in ice cores. This, however, is clearly not the case in low accumulation areas, such as East Antarctica. Further, due to current global warming, post-depositional relocation of impurities caused by the occurrence of melt water will increasingly disturb geochemical and stable water isotope records. The preservation of impurities within these poly-thermal glaciers depends on whether the impurities are located at grain boundaries or embedded into the matrix of the snow or firn grains, protecting them from alterations by melt water (Eichler 2001). Yet, we currently lack the possibility to map the distribution of impurities in glacial ice cores or and in snow. The mechanisms of how impurities may enter the ice phase are not clear, too. The location of impurities in and the stable isotope fractionation of snow is a complex function of changes that occur after deposition (Legrand 1997; Harder 2000; Röthlisberger 2000; Beine 2002; Röthlisberger 2002; Domine 2004; Blunier 2005; Jacobi 2012). Process studies have shown that dry metamorphism leads to substantial sublimation and deposition events of the ice phase (Pinzer 2009; Pinzer 2012). Water vapour fluxes have a dominant effect on the stable isotope fractionation in snow and on the uptake of trace gases. However, the fate of impurities during snow metamorphism has not been investigated as well as the fractionation and migration of stable water isotopes. This is surprising as the substantial impact of snow metamorphism on physical processes such as heat transfer, avalanche formation, and on snow-atmosphere fluxes of trace gases has long been recognized (Schweizer 2010).We therefore propose detailed process studies in well-controlled laboratory based experiments on the impact of metamorphism on impurity location and on stable isotope fractionation. What makes this proposal unique is the development of snow samples doped with known amounts of impurities that perfectly mimic natural snow and of a locally resolved analysis of the chemical composition of ice and snow with an unprecedented resolution and sensitivity.
-