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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 06 Nov 2019

Submitted as: research article | 06 Nov 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC).

Refractory Black carbon (rBC) variability in a 47-year West Antarctic Snow and Firn core

Luciano Marquetto1,2, Susan Kaspari1, and Jefferson Cardia Simões2,3 Luciano Marquetto et al.
  • 1Department of Geological Sciences, Central Washington University, Ellensburg, Washington ZIP Code 98926, USA
  • 2Centro Polar e Climático, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Av, Bento Gonçalves 9500, Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul CEP 91509-900, Brazil
  • 3Climate Change Institute, University ofMaine, Orono, Maine 04469-5790, USA

Abstract. Black carbon (BC) is an important climate-forcing agent that affects snow albedo. In this work, we present a record of refractory black carbon (rBC) variability, measured from a 20-meter deep snow and firn core drilled in West Antarctica (79°55'34.6"S, 94°21'13.3"W) during the 2014–2015 austral summer. The core was analyzed using a Single Particle Soot Photometer (SP2) coupled to a CETAC Marin-5 nebulizer. Results show a well-defined seasonality with geometric mean concentrations of 0.015 µg L−1 for the wet season (summer/fall) and 0.057 µg L−1 for the dry season (winter/spring). The core was dated to 47 years (1968–2015) using rBC seasonality as the main parameter, along with Na, S and Sr variations. The annual rBC concentration geometric mean was 0.03 µg L−1, the lowest of all rBC cores in Antarctica referenced in this work, while the annual rBC flux was 6.25 µg m−2 a−1, the lowest flux in West Antarctica records so far. No long-term trend was observed. Snow albedo changes in the site due to BC were simulated using SNICAR-online and found to be very low comparing to clean snow (−0.48 %). Fire spots inventory and BC emission estimates from the Southern Hemisphere suggest Australia and Southern Hemisphere South America as the most probable emission sources of BC to the drilling site. Spectral analysis (REDFIT method) of the BC record showed cycles related to the Antarctic Oscillation (AAO) but not to El Niño Southern Oscillation ENSO, and comparison with time series of co-registered Na record suggest BC transport to the site not to be related to the intrusion of marine air masses.

Luciano Marquetto et al.
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Luciano Marquetto et al.
Luciano Marquetto et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Black carbon can affect snow reflectance and accelerate snowmelt. In this work, we analyzed black carbon from an Antarctic ice core spanning 1968–2015 and observed a very low concentration of this particle in the snow, lower than previous works in West Antarctica. We concluded that black carbon effect in snow reflectance in the drilling site is negligible.
Black carbon can affect snow reflectance and accelerate snowmelt. In this work, we analyzed...