Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2013

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Geological Sciences

Committee Chair

Susan Kaspari

Second Committee Member

Carey Gazis

Third Committee Member

Dominic Klyve


Black carbon (BC), produced by the combustion of fossil and biofuels, warms the climate by absorbing solar radiation when in the atmosphere and by reducing the albedo of snow and ice when deposited. Measuring BC in snow and ice is important for estimating albedo reduction and developing historical records of BC concentration. Experiments were conducted to further develop a method for measuring BC in snow and ice using the Single Particle Soot Photometer (SP2). Results suggest the optimal procedures for sample storage, treatment, and nebulization, and analysis and calibration of BC concentrations measured using the SP2 coupled to a CETAC ultrasonic nebulizer. The methods were then used to develop an AD 1852-1999 record of BC using an ice core from Mt. Logan in the Yukon Territory, Canada. The BC recorded at Mt. Logan is predominantly from biomass burning in Alaska, the Yukon Territory, and Siberia. Climatic implications of the BC record are discussed.