30 May, 2000

Monitoring present and past atmosphere conditions in snow pits

Today was a good day to stay inside. The wind was blowing around 23 knots and the temperature hovered at -27C most of the morning. It slowly warmed some this afternoon, but the wind stayed high. Just to confuse things, sometime after 7:30 pm, the skies cleared, the winds calmed and the temperature warmed to -23C. Go figure.

Hydroxy radicals (OH), ozone (3 Oxygen molecules together), and hydrogen peroxide are all types of oxidants in the atmosphere. Of these, only peroxide is found in the ice cores. Hydrogen peroxide is usually produced during the oxidation of organic compounds and since the middle of Greenland is not known for many organics, it would be expected that the peroxide would be low. But that is not the case. So, Dr. Hans-Werner Jacobi is here from Germany to study what peroxide is deposited and how much of it returns to the atmosphere. He studies with Dr. Roger Bales from the University of Arizona. His studies include comparisons of the concentrations in the firn air (air between the snow in the upper few centimeters) to that in the atmosphere. Most of the main processes involving peroxides are believed to be only on the top few centimeters of the snow, so Dr. Jacobi can study his topic with a 'mini-snow pit' of only a few centimeters deep. (Gee, I could have used a sand shovel to help him instead of the huge snow shovel I had to use the other day to dig the 2m deep pit.) Similar studies have been done since 1995, so those findings will be used to compare with what he finds this year. As with many of the studies here in Greenland this year, this information is being compared to that within the ice cores.

Warm regards, Besse Dawson

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> The view outside our windows today with 23 knot winds! > <<23kt winds - dawson.jpg>>

> Dr. Hans-Werner Jacobi and his "baby" in the science trench. > > > > <>

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