Characterising terrestrial influences on Antarctic air masses using Radon-222 measurements at King George Island
Abstract. We report on one year of high-precision direct hourly radon observations at King Sejong Station (King George Island) beginning in February 2013. Findings are compared with historic and ongoing radon measurements from other Antarctic sites. Monthly median concentrations reduced from 72 mBq m−3 in late-summer to 44 mBq m−3 in late winter and early spring. Monthly 10th percentiles, ranging from 29 to 49 mBq m−3, were typical of oceanic baseline values. Diurnal cycles were rarely evident and local influences were minor, consistent with regional radon flux estimates one tenth of the global average for ice-free land. The predominant fetch region for terrestrially influenced air masses was South America (47–53° S), with minor influences also attributed to aged Australian air masses and local sources. Plume dilution factors of 2.8–4.0 were estimated for the most terrestrially influenced (South American) air masses, and a seasonal cycle in terrestrial influence on tropospheric air descending at the pole was identified and characterised.