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Stratigraphic analysis of Dome Fuji Antarctic ice core using an optical scanner

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Long-term changes of snow-accumulation rate in Antarctica are a major uncertainty in our understanding of past climate. Because the visible strata in polar ice are due to variations in the sizes and concentrations of air inclusions and microparticles, the scattered light intensity from an ice core yields valuable information on the stratification, which is likely to provide estimates of the annual accumulation rates. Identification of each layer is therefore necessary, and we developed an optical scanner apparatus to record detailed visible strata of ice cores. The apparatus records the two-dimensional distribution of light-scattering intensity along ice-core samples and produces an image of the whole ice-core sample by an image analysis process. These images showed that ice from Dome Fuji ice core contained a large number of layers. Volcanic layers were also well identified. We processed the scattering intensity on the enhanced intensity images to produce an intensity profile. This profile showed that the period of the intensity variations is consistent with a core-dating model applied to the Dome Fuji ice core. We also found that the intensity peaks are closely correlated to peaks in Ca2+ ion concentrations. Thus, our scanning method is a promising approach to measuring annual-layer thickness and, as a result, may be used to infer past accumulation rates in Antarctica.

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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