Isotopic and elemental changes in winter snow accumulation on glaciers in the Southern alps of New Zealand

Heather Purdie, Nancy Bertler, Andrew Mackintosh, Joel Baker, Rachael Rhodes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


The authors present stable water isotope and trace element data for fresh winter snow from two temperate maritime glaciers located on opposite sides of the New Zealand Southern Alps. The isotopes d18O and dD were more depleted at the eastern Tasman Glacier site because of prevailing westerly flow and preferential rainout of heavy isotopes as air masses crossed the Alps. The deuterium excess provided some indication of moisture provenance, with the Tasman Sea contributing ~70% of the moisture received at Franz Josef and Tasman Glaciers. This source signal was also evident in trace elements, with a stronger marine signal (Na, Mg, and Sr) associated with snow from the Tasman Sea and larger concentrations of terrestrial species (Pb, V, and Zr) in air masses from the Southern and Pacific Oceans. Although postdepositional modification of signals was detected, the results indicate that there is exciting potential to learn more about climate trends and moisture source pathways and to learn from geochemical signals contained in snow and ice in the New Zealand region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4737-4749
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2010
Externally publishedYes

Cite this