The chemistry of seasonal snowcovers north of Inuvik, Northwest Territories, Canada was stratified by biophysical landscape. In this region, deposition of ions in winter occurs largely through the redistribution of wind-blown snow with accumulations in forest-edges and valley sides 8 to 12 times that of the open tundra. While dominated by this snow redistribution, the loading of most ions, except for SO42−, does not scale exactly with that of snow, there being several mechanisms by which ion concentrations become relatively enriched or depleted in various landscape units. Vaporisation during temperature-gradient metamorphism in shallow-snow and uptake during either photochemical reactions or gaseous scavenging to well-exposed snow transformed concentrations of NO3−− by 50%. Dry deposition of aerosols to forested terrain and valley bottoms enriched Cl−, Na+, Mg2+, K+ and Ca2+ concentrations up to more than two-fold, however scavenging of aerosols to blowing snow particles contributed an additional 40% to the sea-salt enrichment and 20% to the Ca2+ enrichment in wind-blown treeline forests. It is concluded that central measurements of snow chemistry in the Arctic cannot be reliably extrapolated without reference to changes caused by over-winter physical and chemical metamorphic processes. Associating the physical/chemical changes with readily identifiable Arctic landscape units suggests a simple and robust method for spatial extrapolation.
- Received September 25, 1992.
- Revision received February 19, 1993.
- Accepted February 22, 1993.
- © IWA Publishing 1993