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Assessment and improvement of the sea ice processing for dissolved inorganic carbon analysis

New publication by Yu-Bin Hu, Feiyue Wang, Wieter Boone, David Barber, and Søren Rysgaard

2018.08.30 | Peter Schmidt Mikkelsen


Dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) is an important parameter to characterize the biogeochemical processes in sea ice and across the ocean‐sea ice‐atmosphere interface. The main challenge in bulk sea ice processing for DIC analysis is to melt the ice core without exposure to the air, which otherwise might contaminate the sample. A common practice is to seal the ice core in a gas‐tight plastic bag and remove the air gently using a syringe or a hand pump. However, this procedure is time‐consuming and the uncertainty in DIC concentration processed in this way has not been fully accessed. In this study, we modified the method by using a vacuum sealer and evaluated this procedure by examining the impact of ice sample processing, biological activity, gaseous CO2 initially present in sea ice, and the presence of ikaite (CaCO3·6H2O) crystals. The results show that no loss or gain in DIC occurs during the evacuation and ice melting process and that it might not be necessary to pre‐poison the ice samples during the ice melting process. In addition, gaseous CO2 initially present in sea ice has a negligible impact on DIC analysis. If detectable ikaite crystals are present in sea ice, the measurement results should be referred to total inorganic carbon instead of DIC. The field test at Station Nord in Greenland demonstrates that the modified method is simple and quick to use even under the most remote and extreme environments.         


Arctic Research Centre