Antarctic Record (Jul 1990)

Electrical conductivity and pH in snow and ice samples from various glacier areas

  • Kokichi Kaminuma,
  • Yoshiyuki Fujii,
  • Okitsugu Watanabe,
  • Tomomi Yamada

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 34, no. 2
pp. 119 – 129


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Electrical conductivity (EC) and pH of melted snow and ice samples from Nepal, Patagonia, Arctic regions and Antarctica are compared. Most samples showed regional differences in means and ranges of EC and pH values. Low concentrations of dissolved substances, however, were accompanied by low ECs and approximately constant pH values, independent of the regions. Higher values of EC brought about regional pH differences. pH increased with higher EC values in coastal Antarctica (Syowa Station), Nepal and Patagonia. In contrast, pH decreased with the increased EC in snow from inland Antarctica. Ice cores from Greenland and in Spitsbergen provide records of EC and pH in snows of the past. The values of EC and pH in the Greenland samples are similar to those in the inland region of Antarctica. The values in the Spitsbergen samples vary widely, implying that they record a variety of past climatic events. A down core fluctuation of characteristics in the EC and pH distributions, is compared to core records in fixed intervals. The fluctuation coincides well with the profile of the clear ice ratio, which records melting events during warmer periods. The periodical variation in the transport process of substances in the precipitation system is estimated from the clear ice ratio and the characteristics of EC and pH.