Sulphate and nitrate concentrations in snow from South Greenland 1895-1978

Neftel, A.; Beer, J.; Oeschger, H.; Zürcher, F.; Finkel, R. C. (1985). Sulphate and nitrate concentrations in snow from South Greenland 1895-1978. Nature, 314(6012), pp. 611-613. Nature Publishing Group 10.1038/314611a0

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An understanding of the phenomenon of acid rain requires the identification of the sources of the species affecting the pH of rainwater, both natural and anthropogenic, and their temporal and spatial development. The scant data concerning the historical development of the acidity in precipitation are from urban regions or their vicinity, where local effects dominate and obscure the hemispherical pattern1. The Greenland ice sheet allows us to trace the evolution of the acid rain in a remote location that is free from local effects. Sulphuric and nitric acids are the two species that dominate the acidity in precipitation (2–4). We report here measurements of [SO42−] and [NO3−] in firn samples spanning the period 1895–1978. Samples, each covering 1 yr, were taken from a 70-m core drilled at Dye 3, South Greenland; [NO3−] and [SO42−] both increased by a factor of ˜2 during the period. By comparing the recent concentrations of nitrate and sulphate with those resulting from natural sources, we conclude that anthropogenic emissions of the precursors (NOx, SO2) had already surpassed natural sources in the late 1950s.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Climate and Environmental Physics


500 Science > 530 Physics




Nature Publishing Group




BORIS Import 2

Date Deposited:

18 Aug 2021 10:55

Last Modified:

22 Aug 2021 02:59

Publisher DOI:





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