Seasonal and Spatial Variations of Total Organic Carbon in Snow from Princess Elizabeth Land, East Antarctica

Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Science

Abstract

Ice sheets of Antarctica are important reservoirs of carbon. Organic carbon in snow plays a crucial role in governing microbial processes and composition of the overlying atmosphere through air-snow exchange. Reliable measurements of organic carbon in the modern snow deposits are vital for understanding its utility as an important component of the global carbon cycle. With this understanding, the concentration and flux of total organic carbon (TOC) were measured for 20 snow cores (~400 samples) retrieved from a coast to inland transect in the Princess Elizabeth Land (PEL) in East Antarctica. The TOC concentrations in snow samples along the PEL transect ranged from 25-940 μg L-1. In the coastal section, TOC values ranged from 50-940 μg L-1 which was higher than the concentration observed inland, 25-290 μg L-1. TOC flux ranged higher in the coast, 31-66 kgkm-2yr-1 with a mean of 46 kgkm-2yr-1 as compared to 17-59 kgkm-2yr-1 with a mean of 31 kgkm-2yr-1 in inland. Thus, TOC concentration and flux both ranged higher in the coast in summer while the values were higher during winter in the inland region. Possible sources, spatial and seasonal variations of organic carbon concentrations and fluxes are discussed in this report. Back trajectory model study revealed that significant quantity of organic carbon during winter season could be derived from Patagonian region in South America.
Date of Award2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The Energy and Resources Institute
SupervisorThamban Meloth (Supervisor) & Mahalinganathan K. (Supervisor)

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