Sulfur-containing species (Methansulfonate and SO4) over the last climatic cycle in the Greenland ice core project (central Greenland) ice core.

Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 102, No. C12, p. 26,663-26,679, 1997

M. Legrand, M. De Angelis, J. Savarino, R. Delmas
Laboratoire de Glaciologie et de Geophysique de l'Environnement, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique St. Martin d'Héres, France.
H.B. Clausen, C.U. Hammer and S.J. Johnsen
Departement of Geophysics, The Niels Bohr Institute of Astronomy, Physics and Geophysics, University of Copenhagen .

A high-resolution profile covering the last two centuries and a discontinuous study spanning the complete last glacial-interglacial cycle of methanesultonate (MSA9 and sulfate were obtained along Summit (central Greenland) ice cores. MSA concentrations were close to 4 +- 1.4 ng/g from 1770 to 1870 A.D and 3 ng/g in 1900, and exhibited a well-marked decreasing trend from 1945 to the present. These changes of Summit snow MSA concentrations between 1770 and 1945 are discussed in terms of possible modulation of dimethylsulfide (DMS) marine emissions influencing the Greenland Ice Sheet by past climatic fluctuations in these regions. The decrease of MSA levels in Summit snow layers deposited since 1945 suggests either a decline in marine biota at high northern latitudes or a changing atmosphere in response to increasing anthropogenic NO x and hydrocarbon emissions. While interglacial ice concentrations of MSA and sulfate are close to 2.9 +_ 1.9 ng/g and 27 +- 10 ng/g, respectively, reduced MSA (1.2 +- 0.7 ng/g) and enhanced sulfate (55 +- 19 ng/g) levels characterized the early Holocene stage (9000 to 11.000 years B.P.). MSA concentrations in glacial ice remain similar to the ones observed during interglacial stages. In contrast, sulfate levels are strongly enhanced (243 +- 84 ng/g) during the last glacial maximum (14.000 to 15.700 years B.P.) compared with the interglacial ones. These variations of sulfur-containing species in response to past climatic conditions are similar to those found in other Greenland cores. In contrast, they are different from those revealed in the Antarctic Vostok ice core, where colder climates were associated with an increase by a factor of 5 and 2 in MSA and sulfate concentrations, respectively. These glacial-interglacial changes are discussed in terms of present and past contribution of marine DMS emissions versus other sulfate sources such as volcanic emissions and continental dust to the Greenland precipitation.