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History of European air pollution inferred from Alpine ice cores

Abstract : The Col du Dôme (CDD) glacier site (4250 m asl, Mont Blanc massif), was investigated for its suitability to reconstruct the anthropogenic atmospheric perturbation over Europe. For that: (1) a 126 m long ice core was analysed in high resolution for major ions, fluor, and light carboxylates, (2) continuous year round measurements of key aerosol species were performed at the CDD site (Vallot Observatory). It is shown that atmospheric relevant information can be extracted in seasonal resolution from the CDD ice at least over the last 80 years, but also that special attention has to be paid on glacier flow effects when interpreting ice records from such a small scaled glacier site in terms of atmospheric changes. The interpretation of the chemical CDD ice core records revealed that summer SO4 2- changes at CDD follow closely the course of anthropogenic SO2 emissions released within 1000 km around the Alps, while winter SO4 2- changes reflect a more limited contamination of the free troposphere at the scale of total Europe. Using the firn/air relation established at CDD, past atmospheric SO4 2- concentrations at 4300 m asl over Europe were reconstructed and compared to current atmospheric model simulations. The natural NO emissions was estimated to amount for ≈20% of the present-day NO budget. While temporal changes of CDD NO3- levels are in agreement with estimated NO emissions in western Europe, this is not true for NH4+ which appears to increase significantly stronger over the last 80 years than current ammonia emission estimates. The examination of the F- and HCl budget revealed that in addition to coal burning, aluminium smelters and waste incineration were the major anthropogenic sources of these species between 1935 and 1975, after 1960, respectively. Finally it was shown that natural inputs dominate here the oxalate budget over the last 80 years, whereas for acetate and formate a significant anthropogenic contribution occurred between 1950 and 1980.
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Submitted on : Thursday, May 24, 2012 - 5:18:41 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, November 19, 2020 - 3:54:26 PM

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  • HAL Id : tel-00701204, version 1

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Susanne Preunkert. History of European air pollution inferred from Alpine ice cores. Géochimie. Université Joseph-Fourier - Grenoble I, 2001. Français. ⟨tel-00701204⟩

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