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Characteristics of accumulation around the EPICA deep-drilling site in Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica

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Based on ground-penetrating radar profiles, we analyze area-wide spatial and temporal characteristics of accumulation rate in the vicinity of the EPICA (European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica) deep-drilling site in Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica (EDML). An area of 1600 km2 is covered by 500 km of radar profiles, organized in a star-like pattern with eight 20–25 km legs and a 10 km grid with 1–3 km spacing, each pattern being centred on the EDML drilling location. Distributions of density, cumulative mass, age and the electromagnetic wave speed with depth are available from physical ice-core records. Nine internal reflection horizons are continuously tracked within the upper 110 m of ice over the whole area, yielding a spatial picture of accumulation rate history over >1000 years. The mean accumulation rate over the last 153 years varies between 50 and 75 kg m−2 a−1 over 50 km perpendicular to the ice divide; the spatial average is ∼61 kg m−2 a−1. This general pattern is overlain by small-scale variations of accumulation rate on the order of 10% of the mean. Maximum local gradients in accumulation rate are ∼2–3 kg m−2 a−1 km−1, about five times the regional accumulation rate gradient. Comparison of topography and accumulation rate along a 20 km profile in the direction of the mean winds indicates that variations in accumulation rate over short distances are linked to surface undulations. Our results show that advected spatial variations of accumulation rate are on the same order and even exceed temporal changes over the investigated periods. Ice flow and upstream effects therefore might influence accumulation rates reconstructed from the EDML ice core.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2005

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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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