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Keywords:

  • nitrate and accumulation;
  • Greenland and Arctic;
  • snow and ice

[1] Nitrate records from six Greenland ice cores covering the period 1789 to 1995 show a significant correlation in concentration for averaging periods greater than 10 years, as well as an approximately 60% increase in average concentration during the last 75 years. Annual nitrate fluxes contain low-frequency trends driven primarily by changes in concentration, while higher-frequency variability is driven by changes in snow accumulation. Increases in concentration yield nearly 30% higher nitrate flux (2.5 to 3.2 μg m−2 yr−1) and an 11% increase in variability during the 1895 to 1994 period versus the prior 100 years. Nitrate trends in the cores during the last 100 years are also correlated with global nitrate emissions, with a highly significant average r value of 0.93 for the six cores. During the period of anthropogenic influence, nitrate is positively correlated with the North Atlantic Oscillation, while prior to that the correlation is negative, and less significant, suggesting a link between transport of anthropogenic emissions and the North Atlantic Oscillation. Significant preanthropogenic periodicities identified through singular spectrum analysis show decadal variability in the nitrate record leading to shifts as great as 30% from the mean state but none as great as the anthropogenic-driven deviation.