Investigations of the snow cover at the end of the winter 1990/1991 were carried out in several areas in West Spitsbergen, namely, Lomonosovfonna, Kongsvegen, Fridtjovbreen, Amundsenisen and that north of the Hornsund Fjord. The physical properties and chemical nature of precipitation and the snow cover were determined. The studies revealed high variation in the precipitation and the thickness of the snow cover: 317 mm w.e. (water equivalent) in the Hornsund area, 659 mm w.e. at Lomonosovfonna, 1076 mm w.e. at Fridtjovbreen and 1716 mm w.e. at Amundsenisen. The salt loads deposited in the snow cover in different parts of West Spitsbergen were also calculated (2.8 t/km2 at Lomonosovfonna, 15.8 t/km2 at Kongsvegen and 43.2 t/km2 at Amundsenisen). An intensive process of demineralisation during the conversion of snow to firn was revealed, reaching as much as 90% during the first summer. An attempt to determine the anthropogenic element content using the pH values for the precipitation and snow cover was also made. A distinct correlation between the physico-chemical characteristic of snow layer and falling snow was found. On the basis of the quality of the precipitation and snow cover, West Spitsbergen has been classified into following provinces: (1) northern situated within Arctic High (Lomonosovfonna and Kongsvegen), (2) southern ndergoing mainly moving air masses from the Arctic High and Greenland Low (Amundsenisen and Hornsund region).
Certain chemical parameters such pH, specific electric conductivity (SpC) and concentrations of chloride ions (Cl-) have been analysed in samples of precipitation collected close to the Polish Polar Station at Hornsund (PPS), SW Spitsbergen. On the basis of seasonal data from years 1993-1994 and 1998-1999, some differences are apparent from the two sets. There is also a marked difference in the seasonal results, especially with respects to pH values; summer precipitation (pH of which can be as low as 3.78) is much more acidic than winter. This was particularly notable in respect of the summer of 1993, and was presumably the result of a relatively unusual atmospheric circulation and a high influx of airborne contaminants from Europe. The wide variation in specific electrical conductivity measurements is considered to be related to variations in wind direction and speed. That precipitation the highest total dissolved salts, of 11.7 mm w.e. (water equivalent), (November 1993), provided 10.7 g of salt per square metre of tundra near the Polish Polar Station. The proximity of the sea, consequently the development of marine aerosols, largely determines the chemical nature of the precipitation. Thus, variations in the chloride ion concentrations during the study periods more or less reflect the variations in the marine aerosol influences on the nature of the polluted precipitation. An analysis of the atmospheric circulation reveals that the most acid precipitation occurs most frequently in the C-8 type of circulation (cyclonic S + SW) and also, less so, for type C-3 (anticyclonic S + SW).
We describe the spatial variability of snow accumulation on three selected glaciers in Spitsbergen (Hansbreen, Werenskioldbreen and Aavatsmarkbreen) in the winter seasons of 1988/89, 1998/99 and 2001/2002 respectively. The distribution of snow cover is determined by the interrelationships between the direction of the glacier axes and the dominant easterly winds. The snow distribution is regular on the glaciers located E-W, but is more complicated on the glaciers located meridionally. The western part of glaciers is more predisposed to the snow accumulation than the eastern. This is due to snowdrift intensity. Statistical relationships between snow accumulation, deviation of accumulation from the mean values and accumulation variability related to topographic parameters such as: altitude, slope inclination, aspect, slope curvature and distance from the edge of the glacier have been determined. The only significant relations occured between snow accumulation and altitude (r = 0.64-0.91).