Continuous Flow Analysis Method for Determination of Dissolved Reactive Phosphorus in Ice Cores

Kjær, Helle Astrid; Vallelonga, Paul; Svensson, Anders; Kristensen, Magnus Elleskov L.; Tibuleac, Catalin; Bigler, Matthias (2013). Continuous Flow Analysis Method for Determination of Dissolved Reactive Phosphorus in Ice Cores. Environmental science & technology, 47(21), pp. 12325-12332. ACS Publications 10.1021/es402274z

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Phosphorus (P) is an essential macronutrient for all living organisms. Phosphorus is often present in nature as the soluble phosphate ion PO43– and has biological, terrestrial, and marine emission sources. Thus PO43– detected in ice cores has the potential to be an important tracer for biological activity in the past. In this study a continuous and highly sensitive absorption method for detection of dissolved reactive phosphorus (DRP) in ice cores has been developed using a molybdate reagent and a 2-m liquid waveguide capillary cell (LWCC). DRP is the soluble form of the nutrient phosphorus, which reacts with molybdate. The method was optimized to meet the low concentrations of DRP in Greenland ice, with a depth resolution of approximately 2 cm and an analytical uncertainty of 1.1 nM (0.1 ppb) PO43–. The method has been applied to segments of a shallow firn core from Northeast Greenland, indicating a mean concentration level of 2.74 nM (0.26 ppb) PO43– for the period 1930–2005 with a standard deviation of 1.37 nM (0.13 ppb) PO43– and values reaching as high as 10.52 nM (1 ppb) PO43–. Similar levels were detected for the period 1771–1823. Based on impurity abundances, dust and biogenic particles were found to be the most likely sources of DRP deposited in Northeast Greenland.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Climate and Environmental Physics
10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)

UniBE Contributor:

Bigler, Matthias


500 Science > 530 Physics




ACS Publications




Monika Wälti-Stampfli

Date Deposited:

25 Sep 2014 13:09

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:32

Publisher DOI:





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