A study of stable isotopic variations of antarctic snow by albedo differences

Jeonghoon Lee, Yeongcheol Han, Ji Young Ham, Un Sung Na

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Snow albedo can be decreased if there are any impurities on the snow surface other than the snow itself. Due to the decrease of snow albedo, melting rates of surface snow can increase, which is very crucial in climate change and hydrogeology in many parts of the world. Anthropogenic black carbons caused by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuel affect snow and tephra particles generated by geologic volcanic activities reduce snow albedo. In this study, we investigated isotopic compositions for snow covered by tephra particles and compared with this with clean snow. Isotopic compositions of snow with tephra statistically show more enriched than those of clean snow (p < 0.02). This can be explained by the fact that snow becomes enriched in 18O or D relative to meltwater as melting rates are increased. In addition, the slopes of the linear regression between oxygen and hydrogen for snow with tephra and clean snow are 6.7 and 8, respectively, and the latter is similar to that of the global meteoric water line of 8. Therefore, we can conclude that snow impurities control the isotopic compositions of snow, which is very crucial in the study of climate change and hydrogeology. To quantitatively explain these observations, melting experiments and numerical approaches are required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-147
Number of pages7
JournalOcean and Polar Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Korea Ocean Research and Development Institute. All rights reserved.


  • Isotopic composition of snow
  • Melting rates
  • Snow’s albedo
  • Tephra


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