H2O2 accumulation from photochemical production and atmospheric wet deposition in Antarctic coastal and off-shore waters of Potter Cove, King George Island, South Shetland Islands
Temporal and spatial variations of the hydrogen peroxide accumulation were measured in off-shore waters and in intertidal rockpools near Jubany Station, King George Island, South Shetland Islands. As H2O2 photoformation is mainly driven by the short wavelength radiation in the UV-B and the UV-A range of the solar spectrum, the study was conducted between the beginning of October and the end of December 1995, the period of Antarctic spring ozone depletion. Wet deposition of H2O2 containing snow was identified as a major source of hydrogen peroxide in the surface waters of Potter Cove. As the concentrations of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in Potter Cove surface waters were low (121 ± 59 μmol Cl−1), when compared to the highly eutrophicated waters on the German Wadden coast (6000–7000 μmol Cl−1), direct UV-induced DOC photo-oxidation was of only limited significance in the Antarctic sampling site. Nonetheless, under experimental conditions, H2O2 photoformation in Potter Cove surface waters amounted to 90 ± 40 nmol H2O2 h−1 l−1 under a UV-transparent quartz plate. When high energy UV-B photons were cut-off by a WG320 filter formation continued at a rate of 66 ± 29 nmol H2O2 h−1 l−1 due to UV-A and visible light photons. Samples from freshly deposited snow contained between 10 000 and 13 600 nmol H2O2 l−1, and a snowfall event in mid November resulted in a maximum concentration of 1450 nmol H2O2 l−1 in the upper 10 cm layer of Potter Cove surface waters. Maximal H2O2 concentrations in intertidal rockpools were even higher and reached up to 2000 nmol H2O2 l−1 after the snowfall event. During a grid survey on December 17 1995, H2O2 concentrations and salinity displayed a north to south gradient, with higher concentrations and PSU at the south coast of the cove. The reasons for this spatial inhomogenety are as yet unknown, but may relate to a minor local input of photo-reactive organic matter from creeks entering the cove in the south-east, as well as to waste water discharge from the station, located on the south beach.(Received June 11 1998)
(Accepted December 21 1998)
Key Words: atmospheric deposition; coastal environment; dissolved organic matter; hydrogen peroxide; King George Island.