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Physical properties of shallow ice cores from Antarctic and sub-Antarctic islands

Thomas, Elizabeth Ruth and Gacitúa, Guisella and Pedro, Joel B. and Faith King, Amy Constance and Markle, Bradley and Potocki, Mariusz and Moser, Dorothea Elisabeth (2021) Physical properties of shallow ice cores from Antarctic and sub-Antarctic islands. Cryosphere, 15 (2). pp. 1173-1186. ISSN 1994-0416. doi:10.5194/tc-15-1173-2021.

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The sub-Antarctic is one of the most data-sparse regions on earth. A number of glaciated Antarctic and sub-Antarctic islands have the potential to provide unique ice core records of past climate, atmospheric circulation, and sea ice. However, very little is known about the glaciology of these remote islands or their vulnerability to warming atmospheric temperature. Here we present melt histories and density profiles from shallow ice (firn) cores (14 to 24 m) drilled on three sub-Antarctic islands and two Antarctic coastal domes. Additionally, complementary ground-penetrating radar (GPR) data were collected to further characterize each site and assess the spatial distribution of the observed melt layers. This study includes the first ever firn cores from Bouvet Island (54∘25′19′′ S, 03∘23′27′′ E) in the South Atlantic, from Peter I Island (68∘51′05′′ S, 90∘30′35′′ W) in the Bellingshausen Sea, and from Young Island (66∘31′44′′ S, 162∘33′21′′ E) in the Ross Sea sector's Balleny island chain. Despite their sub-Antarctic location, surface melt is low at most sites (melt layers account for ∼ 10 % of total core), with undisturbed ice layers in the upper ∼ 40 m, suggesting minimal impact of meltwater percolation. The exception is Young Island, where melt layers account for 47 % of the firn core. Surface snow densities range from 0.47 to 0.52 kg m⁻³, with close-off depths ranging from 21 to 51 m. Based on the measured density, we estimate that the bottom ages of a 100 m ice core drilled on Peter 1 Island would reach ∼ 1856 CE and ∼ 1874 CE at Young Island.

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URLURL TypeDescription
Thomas, Elizabeth Ruth0000-0002-3010-6493
Pedro, Joel B.0000-0002-0728-2712
Faith King, Amy Constance0000-0002-1285-7568
Additional Information:© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License. Received: 18 April 2020 – Discussion started: 24 June 2020; Revised: 14 January 2021 – Accepted: 18 January 2021 – Published: 3 March 2021. Funding was provided to subICE by École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, the Swiss Polar Institute, and Ferring Pharmaceuticals Inc. Elizabeth Ruth Thomas received core funding from the Natural Environment Research Council to the British Antarctic Survey's Ice Dynamics and Palaeoclimate programme. Amy Constance Faith King was jointly supported by Selwyn College, Cambridge, and the NERC doctoral training programme (grant no. NE/L002507/1). Joel B. Pedro acknowledges support from the European Research Council under the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007e2013) and ERC grant agreement 610055 as part of the ice2ice project. We are grateful to the Norwegian Polar Institute for granting us permission to visit Bouvet (permit reference: 2016/115-25). The authors appreciate the support of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Automatic Weather Station programme for the data set, data display, and information as well as the NSF (grant no. ANT-1543305) and ECMWF for providing ERA-5 reanalysis data. We thank Laura Gerish (BAS) for producing the maps. Data used in this study are available through the UK Polar Data Centre. The authors would like to acknowledge the coordinators and participants of the Antarctic Circumnavigation Expedition for facilitating collection of the subICE cores, especially David Walton, Christian de Marliave, Julia Schmale, Robert Brett, Sergio Rodrigues, Francois Bernard, Roger Stilwell, and Frederick Paulsen. We thank Howard Conway, an anonymous reviewer, and editor Adam Booth for their valuable suggestions. Data availability: All data will be stored at the UK Polar Data Centre and made available by directly contacting Liz Thomas ( Supplement: The supplement related to this article is available online at: Author contributions: ERT led the project; ERT, GG, JBP, ACFK, BM, and MP collected the data in the field; ERT, JBP, ACFK, and DEM processed the ice core data; GG and MP processed the GPR data; all authors contributed to writing and editing the paper. Competing interests: The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest. Financial support: This research has been supported by the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, the Swiss Polar Institute, and Ferring Pharmaceuticals Inc. (grant no. subICE). Review statement: This paper was edited by Adam Booth and reviewed by Howard Conway and one anonymous referee.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
École Polytechnique Fédérale de LausanneUNSPECIFIED
Swiss Polar InstituteUNSPECIFIED
Ferring Pharmaceuticals Inc.subICE
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)NE/L002507/1
European Research Council (ERC)610055
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210405-095123195
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Official Citation:Thomas, E. R., Gacitúa, G., Pedro, J. B., Faith King, A. C., Markle, B., Potocki, M., and Moser, D. E.: Physical properties of shallow ice cores from Antarctic and sub-Antarctic islands, The Cryosphere, 15, 1173–1186,, 2021
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:108618
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:09 Apr 2021 01:17
Last Modified:09 Apr 2021 01:17

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