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High-resolution ice cores from US ITASE (West Antarctica): development and validation of chronologies and determination of precision and accuracy

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Abstract:

Shallow ice cores were obtained from widely distributed sites across the West Antarctic ice sheet, as part of the United States portion of the International Trans-Antarctic Scientific Expedition (US ITASE) program. The US ITASE cores have been dated by annual-layer counting, primarily through the identification of summer peaks in non-sea-salt sulfate (nssSO42−) concentration. Absolute dating accuracy of better than 2 years and relative dating accuracy better than 1 year is demonstrated by the identification of multiple volcanic marker horizons in each of the cores, Tambora, Indonesia (1815), being the most prominent. Independent validation is provided by the tracing of isochronal layers from site to site using high-frequency ice-penetrating radar observations, and by the timing of mid-winter warming events in stable-isotope ratios, which demonstrate significantly better than 1 year accuracy in the last 20 years. Dating precision to ±1 month is demonstrated by the occurrence of summer nitrate peaks and stable-isotope ratios in phase with nssSO42−, and winter-time sea-salt peaks out of phase, with phase variation of <1 month. Dating precision and accuracy are uniform with depth, for at least the last 100 years.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3189/172756405781813311

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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