Sensitivity of chemical species to climatic changes in the last 45 kyr as revealed by high-resolution Dome C (East Antarctica) ice-core analysis

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To assess the cause/effect relationship between climatic and environmental changes, we report high-resolution chemical profiles of the Dome C ice core (788 m, 45 kyr), drilled in the framework of the European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica (EPICA). Snow-concentration and depositional-flux changes during the last deglaciation were compared with climatic changes, derived by D profile. Concentration and temperature profiles showed an anticorrelation, driven by changes in source intensity and transport efficiency of the atmospheric aerosol and by snow accumulation-rate variations. The flux calculation allowed correction for accumulation rate. While sulphate and ammonium fluxes are quite constant, Na+, Mg2+ and Ca2+ underwent the greatest changes, showing fluxes respectively about two, three and six times lower in the Holocene than in the Last Glacial Maximum. Chloride, nitrate and methanesulphonic acid (MSA) also exhibited large changes, but their persistence depends on depositional and post-depositional effects. The comparison between concentrations and D profiles revealed leads and lags between chemical and temperature trends: Ca2+ and nitrate preceded by about 300 years the D increase at the deglaciation onset, while MSA showed a 400 year delay. Generally, all components reached low Holocene values in the first deglaciation step (18.0–14.0 kyr BP), but Na+, Mg2+ and nitrate show changes during the Antarctic Cold Reversal (14.0–12.5 kyr BP).

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2004

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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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