The composition of rime ice as an indicator of the quality of winter deposition

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Rime ice deposition and snow chemistry has been determined over a 4-year period on the summit of Cairngorm Mountain, NE Scotland. The direction of ice deposition reflected the dominant air mass movement over the summit. Sea salt concentrations in the rime ice were approximately 2·5 times greater than in snow deposited over the same period. Excess sulphate concentrations were double, and those of nitrate nearly four times higher. The direction of deposition influenced concentrations of excess sulphate and nitrogen species (nitrate and ammonium) in rime ice. The same directional effect was found in the snow chemistry indicating increased entrapment of pollutants, or a more polluted air mass, when it prevailed from a Southerly or Easterly direction. The potential surface reactions involving gaseous species of S and N may increase the ionic loading to the rime and reflect natural ionic enrichment of the rimed snowpack surface. Because of such phenomena, rime ice is proposed as a further indicator of winter air quality revealing important information on ionic interactions and total deposition flux measurement, especially at high altitudes. © 1994.




Ferrier, R. C., Jenkins, A., & Elston, D. A. (1995). The composition of rime ice as an indicator of the quality of winter deposition. Environmental Pollution, 87(3), 259–266.

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