What Are They Doing?
As snow falls, it carries whatever is in the air with it into the snowpack. Over the past decade, scientists have learned that the chemicals that accumulate in the snow over the long, dark arctic winter react rapidly when they are exposed to the sun in the spring. These sunlight-driven reactions (photochemistry) in snow release a number of pollutants to the lower atmosphere. A team of scientists worked at Summit, Greenland to find out how snow photochemistry affects the composition of the snow and the atmosphere above it by sampling and analyzing reactive chemicals in the snow and in the air, measuring the sunlight in the snowpack, and determining physical properties of the snow.
Where Are They?
The team traveled to Summit Station, located at the peak of the Greenland ice cap atop 3200 meters of ice. Summit is a scientific research station sponsored by the National Science Foundation that supports a diversity of scientific research, including year-round measurements of air-snow interactions that provide crucial knowledge for interpreting data from deep ice cores drilled both at Summit and elsewhere. Learn more about Summit at the Summit Station website.