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Meteorological and glaciological evidence for different climatic variations on the east and west sides of the Lambert Glacier basin, Antarctica

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Surface mass-balance studies and climatic records from firn cores show remarkable differences between the east and west sides of the Lambert Glacier basin (LGB). The spatial distribution of the surface accumulation is influenced by the atmospheric moisture flux, and by the surface wind field, which is largely determined by topography. Atmospheric water-vapor budget data for the ice-sheet sector covering the basin (45–90° E) show that on the east side of the LGB the moisture flux is poleward, averaging 18 kg m−1 s−1 in 1988, while for the west side it is Equatorward, averaging 5 kg m−1 s−1. A similar pattern, but with much lower transport of vapor flux, is seen across 70° S. Two firn cores from the east side of the basin and two from the west side were analyzed to determine accumulation-rate and temperature-proxy variations for the past 50 years. The trends were opposite on the different sides of the basin. Similar opposing trends are seen in meteorological records from Davis and Mawson coastal stations, situated on the east and west sides of the LGB respectively. There is a good correlation between the accumulation/18O record in ice cores from the eastern LGB and the sea-level pressure (obtained from the US National Centers for Environmental Prediction/US National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCEP/NCAR) re-analyses) of a Southern Indian Ocean low (SIOL), but not between the SIOL and the records from the western LGB. This study reveals that variations in local circulation could alter at least the annual to decadal time-scale climate records, and may result in completely different climate histories between adjacent areas.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2004-06-01

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  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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