On high-resolution sampling of short ice cores: dating and temperature information recovery from Antarctic Peninsula virtual cores
Recent developments in ice melter systems and continuous flow analysis (CFA) techniques now allow higher-resolution ice core analysis. Here, we present a new method to aid interpretation of high-resolution ice core stable water isotope records. Using a set of simple isotopic recording and postdepositional assumptions, the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts' 40 year reanalysis time series of temperature and precipitation are converted to “virtual core” depth series across the Antarctic Peninsula, helping us to understand what information can be gleaned from the CFA high-resolution observations. Virtual core temperatures are transferred onto time using three different depth-age transfer assumptions: (1) a perfect depth-age model, (2) a depth-age model constructed from single or dual annual photochemical tie points, and (3) a cross-dated depth-age model. Comparing the sampled temperatures on the various depth-age models with the original time series allows quantification of the effect of ice core sample resolution and dating. We show that accurate annual layer count depth-age models should allow some subseasonal temperature anomalies to be recovered using a sample resolution of around 40 mm, or 10–20 samples per year. Seasonal temperature anomalies may be recovered using sample lengths closer to 60 mm, or about 7–14 samples per year. These results tend to confirm the value of current CFA ice core sampling strategies and indicate that it should be possible to recover about a third of subannual (but not synoptic) temperature anomaly information from annually “layer-counted” peninsula ice cores.