Glacioclimatological research in the central Tien Shan was performed in the summers of 1998 and 1999 on the South Inilchek Glacier at 5100-5460 m. A 14.36 m firn-ice core and snow samples were collected and used for stratigraphic, isotopic, and chemical analyses. The firn-ice core and snow records were related to snow pit measurements at an event scale and to meteorological data and synoptic indices of atmospheric circulation at annual and seasonal scales. Linear relationships between the seasonal air temperature and seasonal isotopic composition in accumulated precipitation were established. Changes in the ??18O air temperature relationship, in major ion concentration and in the ratios between chemical species, were used to identify different sources of moisture and investigate changes in atmospheric circulation patterns. Precipitation over the central Tien Shan is characterized by the lowest ionic content among the Tien Shan glaciers and indicates its mainly marine origin. In seasons of minimum precipitation, autumn and winter, water vapor was derived from the and and semiarid regions in central Eurasia and contributed annual maximal solute content to snow accumulation in Tien Shan. The lowest content of major ions was observed in spring and summer layers, which represent maximum seasonal accumulation when moisture originates over the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean and Black Seas. Copyright 2004 by the American Geophysical Union.