Physically based modeling of atmosphere-to-snow-to-firn transfer of H 2O 2 at South Pole

Joseph R. McConnell, Roger G. Baies, Richard W. Stewart, Anne M. Thompson, Mary R. Albert, Ricardo Ramos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

58 Scopus citations


Quantitative interpretation of ice core chemical records requires a detailed understanding of the transfer processes that relate atmospheric concentrations to those in the snow, firn, and ice. A unique, 2 year set of year-round surface snow samples at South Pole and snow pits, with associated accumulation histories, were used to test a physically based model for atmosphere-to-firn transfer of H 2O 2. The model, which extends our previous transfer modeling at South Pole into the snowpack, is based on the advection-dispersion equation and spherical diffusion within representative snow grains. Required physical characteristics of the snowpack, such as snow temperature and ventilation, were estimated independently using established physical models. The surface snow samples and related model simulations show that there is a repeatable annual cycle in H 2O 2 in the surface snow at South Pole. It peaks in early spring, and surface snow concentration is primarily determined by atmospheric concentration and temperature, with some dependence on grain size. The snow pits and associated model simulations point out the importance of accumulation timing and annual accumulation rate in understanding the deposition and preservation of H 2O 2 and δ 18O at South Pole. Long-term snowpack simulations suggest that the firn continues to lose H 2O 2 to the atmosphere for at least 10-12 years (∼3 m) after burial at current South Pole temperatures and accumulation rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10561-10570
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research D: Atmospheres
Issue number3339
StatePublished - Dec 1 1998


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology

Cite this

McConnell, J. R., Baies, R. G., Stewart, R. W., Thompson, A. M., Albert, M. R., & Ramos, R. (1998). Physically based modeling of atmosphere-to-snow-to-firn transfer of H 2O 2 at South Pole. Journal of Geophysical Research D: Atmospheres, 103(3339), 10561-10570.