Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union

Chemistry of Greenland Ice Sheet studied



The first ice coring project to include a major emphasis on the study of atmospheric processes and changes in the Greenland Ice Sheet that influence the chemistry of the ice core began in April of this year under the auspices of the Greenland Ice Sheet Project Two (GISP2). The project is also unique in that it is tightly coordinated with a European effort, the Greenland Ice Core Project, to recover a parallel core to bedrock 30 km east of the GISP2 site. This is the third field season in the Summit region of Greenland. (See “First GISP2 Field Season Just Completed,” Eos, October 31, 1989.)

The U.S. Ice Core Research Workshop (1988) reached the consensus that the value of ice core records and the rigor with which such records could be interpreted in terms of past climatic and global atmospheric conditions would be greatly enhanced by improved understanding of atmosphere-snow transfer functions. Specifically, it was felt that gaps in current knowledge limit our ability to relate changes in snow and ice chemistry to changes in the chemistry of the atmosphere. The topic areas of greatest interest include source regions and transport pathways for atmospheric constituents reaching polar ice sheets, mechanisms that incorporate these constituents into the snowpack, and processes that modify the chemistry of the Ice Sheet as the snow ages.