Precipitation composition and its variability in the southern Indian Ocean: Amsterdam Island, 1980–1987

Academic Article


  • Event precipitation samples have been collected on Amsterdam Island (37° 47′ S, 77° 31′ E) from May 1980 through January 1987 and analyzed for SO4=, NO3, Cl, Na+, Mg++, K+, Ca++, H+, HCOOt, and CH3COOt. The objective of this paper is to assess the processes which influence variability in the chemical composition of precipitation at this remote marine site. Back trajectories and gas phase 222Rn measurements were used to identify source regions and their relative contributions to precipitation composition. The technique of cluster analysis was applied to trajectory data as a method for determining to what degree different atmospheric flow patterns influence variability in the observed composition. The dominant source regions for chemical deposition were found to be Madagascar and/or S.E. Africa and the ocean region north and east of Amsterdam Island. A strong seasonal signal in the precipitation composition is illustrated. Processes which influence variability in the chemical composition include the following: seasonality in the source strength of biogenic precursors for non‐sea‐salt (nss) SO4=, NH4+ and carboxylic acids; seasonality in biomass‐burning continental sources for the concentration of NO3 and a portion of nss Cl; and variations in source region driven by daily changes in meteorology, as well as seasonal and annual differences in transport and removal patterns. In addition, interannual differences in nss SO4= concentration appear to be related to fluctuations in large‐scale circulation patterns as defined by the Southern Oscillation.
  • Authors

  • Moody, JL
  • Pszenny, Alexander
  • Gaudry, A
  • Keene, WC
  • Galloway, JN
  • Polian, G
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • November 20, 1991
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 20769
  • End Page

  • 20786
  • Volume

  • 96
  • Issue

  • D11