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Chemical compositions of solid particles present in the Greenland NEEM ice core over the last 110,000 years

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2015
Author Oyabu I., Iizuka Y., FischerH., Schüpbach S., Gfeller G., Svensson A., Fukui M., Steffensen J.P., Hansson M.,
Project Schweizerische Beteiligung an der Eis-Tiefbohrung in Nordwest Grönland NEEM (Teil 2)
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Journal of Geophysical Research Atmosphere
Volume (Issue) 120
Page(s) 9789 - 9813
Title of proceedings Journal of Geophysical Research Atmosphere
DOI 10.1002/2015JD023290


This study reports the chemical composition of particles present along Greenland’s North Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling (NEEM) ice core, back to 110,000 years before present. Insoluble and soluble particles larger than 0.45 μm were extracted from the ice core by ice sublimation, and their chemical composition was analyzed using scanning electron microscope and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy and micro-Raman spectroscopy. We show that the dominant insoluble components are silicates, whereas NaCl, Na2SO4, CaSO4, and CaCO3 represent major soluble salts. For the first time, particles of CaMg(CO3)2 and Ca(NO3)2•4H2O are identified in a Greenland ice core. The chemical speciation of salts varies with past climatic conditions. Whereas the fraction of Na salts (NaCl + Na2SO4) exceeds that of Ca salts (CaSO4 + CaCO3) during the Holocene (0.6–11.7 kyr B.P.), the two fractions are similar during the Bølling-Allerød period (12.9–14.6 kyr B.P.). During cold climate such as over the Younger Dryas (12.0–12.6 kyr B.P.) and the Last Glacial Maximum (15.0–26.9 kyr B.P.), the fraction of Ca salts exceeds that of Na salts, showing that the most abundant ion generally controls the salt budget in each period. High-resolution analyses reveal changing particle compositions: those in Holocene ice show seasonal changes, and those in LGM ice show a difference between cloudy bands and clear layers, which again can be largely explained by the availability of ionic components in the atmospheric aerosol body of air masses reaching Greenland.