The ST22 chronology for the Skytrain Ice Rise ice core – Part 1: A stratigraphic chronology of the last 2000 years

A new ice core was drilled in West Antarctica on Skytrain Ice Rise in field season 2018/2019. This 651 m ice core is one of the main targets of the WACSWAIN (WArm Climate Stability of the West Antarctic ice sheet in the last INterglacial) project. A present-day accumulation rate of 13.5 cm w.e. yr−1 was derived. Although the project mainly aims to investigate the last interglacial (115–130 ka), a robust chronology period covering the recent past is needed to constrain the age models for the deepest ice. Additionally, this time period is important for understanding current climatic changes in the West Antarctic region. Here, we present a stratigraphic chronology for the top 184.14 m of the Skytrain ice core based on absolute age tie points interpolated using annual layer counting encompassing the last 2000 years of climate history. Together with a model-based depth–age relationship of the deeper part of the ice core, this will form the ST22 chronology. The chemical composition, dust content, liquid conductivity, water isotope concentration and methane content of the whole core was analysed via continuous flow analysis (CFA) at the British Antarctic Survey. Annual layer counting was performed by manual counting of seasonal variations in mainly the sodium and calcium records. This counted chronology was informed and anchored by absolute age tie points, namely, the tritium peak (1965 CE) and six volcanic eruptions. Methane concentration variations were used to further constrain the counting error. A minimal error of ±1 year at the tie points was derived, accumulating to ± 5 %–10 % of the age in the unconstrained sections between tie points. This level of accuracy enables data interpretation on at least decadal timescales and provides a solid base for the dating of deeper ice, which is the second part of the chronology.


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Authors: Hoffmann, Helene M., Grieman, Mackenzie M., King, Amy C.F. ORCIDORCID record for Amy C.F. King, Epifanio, Jenna A., Martin, Kaden, Vladimirova, Diana, Pryer, Helena, Doyle, Emily, Schmidt, Axel, Humby, Jack D. ORCIDORCID record for Jack D. Humby, Rowell, Isobel F., Nehrbass-Ahles, Christoph, Thomas, Elizabeth R. ORCIDORCID record for Elizabeth R. Thomas, Mulvaney, Robert ORCIDORCID record for Robert Mulvaney, Wolff, Eric W.

On this site: Amy King, Jack Humby, Liz Thomas, Robert Mulvaney
10 August, 2022
Climate of the Past / 18
17pp / 1831-1847
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