Frost flowers as a source of fractionated sea salt aerosol in the polar regions
Frost flowers collected from the surface of new sea ice near the Brunt Ice Shelf, Antarctica, show depletion in sulphate and sodium relative to other sea water ions. This is consistent with loss of mirabilite (Na2SO4) during formation of the brine from which the frost flowers grow. Aerosol generated from frost flowers would have higher sodium:sulphate ratios than aerosol generated from sea water. This would explain low values of non-sea-salt sulphate encountered in winter aerosol, and winter layers in ice cores, at coastal Antarctic sites. Calculations confirm that the frost flower source should be significant compared to an open water source for coastal regions.