This Frontiers’ Research Topic call for abstracts focuses on both the direct and indirect consequences of impure snow and ice, such as their energy interactions with the atmosphere, changes in surface mass balance, and the potential impact on glacier dynamics. Abstracts are due by 18 September 2019.

Snow and ice in previously rarely-reached areas such as the Arctic, Antarctica, and high mountains were once thought to be pristine. We now know that they are not as pure as once , but instead present various traces of anthropogenic activities associated with economic globalization.

As a result of human activities, pollutants are introduced into and deposited in snow and ice. To investigate the temporal and spatial distributions of these impurities in snow and ice, and to study their post-deposition process and potential impacts on the environment and climate, it is essential for the public and policymakers to better understand human activities and their impacts on our vulnerable planet. Although the number of studies on this topic have been increasing over the past decade, current knowledge on impurities in snow and ice continues to be limited.

The impurity of snow affects the energy exchange at the snow surface, and therefore has an impact on the surface mass balance of snow and ice. It is therefore possible for glaciers to gain more heat from the environment, increasing the risk of development of subglacial hydrology systems and causing changes in the dynamics of glaciers, which eventually contributes to the mass loss of glaciers and ice sheets. This Research Topic will pay close attention to the direct and indirect consequences of impure snow and ice, such as their energy interactions with the atmosphere, changes in surface mass balance, and the potential impact on glacier dynamics.

This Frontiers' Research Topic welcomes research on the transiting processes of impurities from natural and anthropogenic sources into the snow and ice of remote areas, and their potential impacts on the global environment and climate. Several impurities are of particular interest:

  • Heavy metals, including their concentrations, sources, and enriched levels compared to background;
  • Black carbon, including its concentrations, sources, and to what degree it darkens snow and ice and thereby its impacts on the melting of snow and ice and global climate;
  • Dust, including its concentrations, sources, and to what degree it darkens snow and ice;
  • Pesticides, including their concentrations, sources, and enriched levels compared to background;
  • Microplastics, including their concentrations, sources, and transport;
  • Algae, including the species, distributions, and roles in changing the status of snow and ice; 
  • Other non-fully noticed impurities.

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

Frontiers in Earth Science | Cryospheric Sciences

Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Submission Deadlines

Abstracts: 18 September 2019
Manuscript: 18 January 2020

About Frontiers’ Research Topics

Frontiers’ Research Topics are peer-reviewed article collections around themes of cutting-edge research. Defined, managed, and led by renowned researchers, they unite the world’s leading experts around the hottest topics in research, stimulating collaboration and accelerating science.

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