Microscale Distribution of Impurities in SnOw and Glacier Ice (MiSo)

Illustration of the multiple domains in snow hosting impurities and reactions (from Bartels-Rausch et al., 2014).

Project Overview

"The impact of the physical micro-environment of impurities in snow on their re-distribution during metamorphism, on the chemical reactivity, and the transfer to ice core archives."

Snow and ice contain a variety of chemical compounds which originate from the atmosphere. Cold polar and alpine glaciers or ice sheets preserve those impurities. Past changes of climate, air pollution and atmospheric transport mechanisms can be reconstructed from ice core impurity records.1,2 In current times, chemical reactions of impurities in snow and ice may significantly alter the atmospheric composition with impacts on human health, climate, and Earth's geochemical cycles.3

However, it still remains unclear how chemical impurities are embedded in snow. In particular, the snow cover on earth is not static but large structural changes side-by-side with substantial redistribution of ice mass even on small temporal and special scales occur during metamorphism.4 To which extent impurities are redistributed during snow metamorphism and how this influences their chemical reactivity and their preservation in ice cores is currently unknown. This is fundamental to snow chemistry, atmospheric science and to the integrity of ice cores as climate and environmental archives.

(1) Schwikowski, M.; Eichler, A. Alpine Glaciers as Archives of Atmospheric Deposition. In Alpine Waters; Bundi, U., Ed.; Springer: Berlin, 2010; Vol. 6, pp 141–150.
(2) Legrand, M.; Mayewski, P. Glaciochemistry of polar ice cores: A review. Rev. Geophys. 1997, 35 (3), 219–243. DOI: 10.1029/96RG03527
(3) Bartels-Rausch, T.; Jacobi, H.-W.; Kahan, T. F.; Thomas, J. L.; Thomson, E. S.; Abbatt, J. P. D.; Ammann, M.; Blackford, J. R.; Bluhm, H.; Boxe, C.; Dominé, F.; Frey, M. M.; Gladich, I.; Guzman, M. I.; Heger, D.; Huthwelker, T.; Klán, P.; Kuhs, W. F.; Kuo, M. H.; Maus, S.; Moussa, S. G.; McNeill, V. F.; Newberg, J. T.; Pettersson, J. B. C.; Roeselova, M.; Sodeau, J. R. A Review of Air–Ice Chemical and Physical Interactions (AICI): Liquids, Quasi-Liquids, and Solids in Snow. Atmos. Chem. Phys. 2014, 14 (3), 1587–1633. DOI: 10.5194/acp-14-1587-2014
(4) Pinzer, B. R.; Schneebeli, M. Snow Metamorphism Under Alternating Temperature Gradients: Morphology and Recrystallization in Surface Snow. Geophys. Res. Lett. 2009, 36 (23), L23503. DOI: 10.1029/2009GL039618


This project has received funding from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF), grant 155999.

MiSo is also...

Miso (みそ or 味噌) is a traditional Japanese seasoning produced by fermenting soybeans with salt and the fungus Aspergillus oryzae, known in Japanese as kōji (麹), and sometimes rice, barley, or other ingredients.

Pinzer, B. R.; Schneebeli, M.; Kaempfer, T. U. Vapor Flux and Recrystallization During Dry Snow Metamorphism Under a Steady Temperature Gradient as Observed by Time-Lapse Micro-Tomography. The Cryosphere 2012, 6, 1141–1155. DOI: 10.5194/tcd-6-1673-2012