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Abstract - Polar ice sheets hold a signiﬁcant pool of the world’s carbon reserve and are an integral component of the global carbon cycle. Yet, organic carbon composition and cycling in these systems is least understood. Here, we use ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry to elucidate, at an unprecedented level, molecular details of dissolved organic matter (DOM) in Antarctic snow. Tens of thousands of distinct molecular species are identiﬁed, providing clues to the nature and sources of organic carbon in Antarctica. We show that many of the identiﬁed supraglacial organic matter formulas are consistent with material from microbial sources, and terrestrial inputs of vascular plant-derived materials are likely more important sources of organic carbon to Antarctica than previously thought. Black carbon-like material apparently originating from biomass burning in South America is also present, while a smaller fraction originated from soil humics and appears to be photochemically or microbially modiﬁed. In addition to remote continental sources, we document signals of oceanic emissions of primary aerosols and secondary organic aerosol precursors. The new insights on the diversity of organic species in Antarctic snowpack reinforce the importance of studying organic carbon associated with the Earth’s polar regions in the face of changing climate.
Antony, R., A. M. Grannas, A. S. Willoughby, R. L. Sleighter, M. Thamban, & P. G. Hatcher (2014) Origin and Sources of Dissolved Organic Matter in Snow on the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, Environ. Sci. Technol. 48(11):6151–6159.