The University of Arizona
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Accelerator mass spectrometry analysis of non-soluble carbon in aerosol particles from high alpine snow (Mt. Sonnblich, Austria).

Roland H Weissenboek, Lloyd A Currie, Christina Groellert, Walter Kutschera, Julie Marolf, Alfred Priller, Hans Puxbaum, Werner Rom, Peter Steier


With an elaborate accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) technique radiocarbon measurements have been performed with aerosol carbon filtered from high alpine snow samples gathered consecutively at the high-altitude research station Sonnblick (3106 m, Eastern Alps, Austria) during a snow storm in April 1997. The concentration of the water-insoluble carbonaceous material in the molten snow was on the average 310 mu g C/L and the total sample amounts for analysis were in the range of 35 mu g to 60 mu g C. Using a special background correction procedure tested on similar amounts of an urban particulate standard sample the accuracy of the corrected and normalized (super 14) C/ (super 12) C isotopic ratios of the snow aerosol samples was in the order of 4% to 14% of the measured ratios. The water-insoluble carbonaceous material of five samples from Mt. Sonnblick exhibited a weighted mean of 74 pMC (percent Modern Carbon) with a range of 64 pMC to 88 pMC. Thus, it appears that about 64% of non-soluble carbon in high alpine snow from Sonnblick was of biogenic origin. The temporal variations of the (super 14) C/ (super 12) C isotopic ratios of the snow aerosol samples were statistically significant, suggesting alterations in the contribution of specific aerosol sources.


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