Sea-spray deposition in Antarctic coastal and plateau areas from ITASE traverses

Silvia Benassai, Silvia Becagli, Roberto Gragnani, Olivier Magand, Marco Proposito, Ilaria Fattori, Rita Traversi, Roberto Udisti

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Sea-salt markers (Na+, Mg2+ and Cl-) were analyzed in recent snow collected at more than 600 sites located in coastal and central areas of East Antarctica (northern Victoria Land-Dome C-Wilkes Land), in order to understand the effect of site remoteness, transport efficiency and depositional and post-depositional processes on the spatial distribution of the primary marine aerosol. Firn-core, snow-pit and 1 m integrated superficial snow samples were collected in the framework of the International Trans-Antarctic Scientific Expeditions (ITASE) project during recent Italian Antarctic Campaigns (1992-2002). The sampling sites were mainly distributed along coast-inland traverses (northern Victoria Land-Dome C) and an east-west transect following the 2100 m contour line (Wilkes Land). At each site, the snow ionic composition was determined. Here, we discuss the distribution of sea-spray components (Na+, Mg2+ and Cl-) as a function of distance from the sea, altitude and accumulation rate, in order to discover the pulling-down rate, possible fractionating phenomena and alternative sources moving inland from coastal areas. Sea-spray depositional fluxes decrease as a function of distance from the sea and altitude. A two-order-of-magnitude decrease occurs in the first 200 km from the sea, corresponding to about 2000 m a.s.l. Correlations of Mg2+ and Cl- with Na+ and trends of Mg2+/Na+ and Cl-/Na+ ratios showed that chloride has other sources than sea spray (HCl) and is affected by post-depositional processes. Accumulation rate higher than 80 kg m-2a-1 preserves the chloride record in the snow. Sea-spray atmospheric scavenging is dominated by wet deposition in coastal and inland sites.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32 - 40
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Glaciology
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Earth-Surface Processes

Cite this

Benassai, S., Becagli, S., Gragnani, R., Magand, O., Proposito, M., Fattori, I., ... Udisti, R. (2005). Sea-spray deposition in Antarctic coastal and plateau areas from ITASE traverses. Annals of Glaciology, 41, 32 - 40.