A 2700-year annual timescale and accumulation history for an ice core from Roosevelt Island, West Antarctica

ice core, Ross Ice Shelf, West Antarctica. The core adds information on past accumulation changes in an otherwise poorly constrained sector of Antarctica.The timescale was constructed by identifying annual cycles in high-resolution impurity records, and it constitutes the top part of the Roosevelt Island Ice Core Chronology 2017 (RICE17). Validation by volcanic and methane matching to the WD2014 chronology from the WAIS Divide ice core shows that the two timescales are in excellent agreement. In a companion paper, gas matching to WAIS Divide is used to extend the timescale for the deeper part of the core in which annual layers cannot be identified.Based on the annually resolved timescale, we produced a record of past snow accumulation at Roosevelt Island. The accumulation history shows that Roosevelt Island experienced slightly increasing accumulation rates between 700 BCE and 1300 CE, with an average accumulation of 0.25±0.02 m water equivalent (w.e.) per year. Since 1300 CE, trends in the accumulation rate have been consistently negative, with an acceleration in the rate of decline after the mid-17th century. The current accumulation rate at Roosevelt Island is 0.210±0.002 m w.e. yr−1 (average since 1965 CE, ±2σ), and it is rapidly declining with a trend corresponding to 0.8 mm yr−2. The decline observed since the mid-1960s is 8 times faster than the long-term decreasing trend taking place over the previous centuries, with decadal mean accumulation rates consistently being below average.Previous research has shown a strong link between Roosevelt Island accumulation rates and the location and intensity of the Amundsen Sea Low, which has a significant impact on regional sea-ice extent. The decrease in accumulation rates at Roosevelt Island may therefore be explained in terms of a recent strengthening of the ASL and the expansion of sea ice in the eastern Ross Sea. The start of the rapid decrease in RICE accumulation rates observed in 1965 CE may thus mark the onset of significant increases in regional sea-ice extent.


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Authors: Winstrup, Mai, Vallelonga, Paul, Kjær, Helle A., Fudge, Tyler J., Lee, James E., Riis, Marie H., Edwards, Ross, Bertler, Nancy A.N., Blunier, Thomas, Brook, Ed J., Buizert, Christo, Ciobanu, Gabriela, Conway, Howard, Dahl-Jensen, Dorthe, Ellis, Aja, Emanuelsson, B. Daniel, Hindmarsh, Richard C.A., Keller, Elizabeth D., Kurbatov, Andrei V., Mayewski, Paul A., Neff, Peter D., Pyne, Rebecca L., Simonsen, Marius F., Svensson, Anders, Tuohy, Andrea, Waddington, Edwin D., Wheatley, Sarah

On this site: Richard Hindmarsh, Richard Hindmarsh
10 April, 2019
Climate of the Past / 15
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