The influence of global and local atmospheric pollution on the chemistry of Antarctic snow and ice
The Antarctic ice sheet is the main sink for atmospheric pollution reaching the Antarctic atmosphere from other continents. The ice preserves a historical record of the atmosphere that can be recovered in ice cores. No increasing trend is observed over recent decades for nitrate and sulphate. There appears to have been an increase of perhaps eight-fold in lead concentrations in Antarctic snow, but the details of when the increase occurred have still to be defined. Many other species could be measured, but analytical problems have hampered such work. These studies would be impaired if emissions due to human activity in Antarctica became significant. The effect on snow concentrations of emissions from fuel and waste burning at Antarctic stations and from vehicles is still mainly confined to small areas around stations.