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A 200 year sulfate record from 16 Antarctic ice cores and associations with Southern Ocean sea-ice extent

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Chemistry data from 16, 50–115 m deep, sub-annually dated ice cores are used to investigate spatial and temporal concentration variability of sea-salt (ss) SO42− and excess (xs) SO42− over West Antarctica and the South Pole for the last 200 years. Low-elevation ice-core sites in western West Antarctica contain higher concentrations of SO42− as a result of cyclogenesis over the Ross Ice Shelf and proximity to the Ross Sea Polynya. Linear correlation analysis of 15 West Antarctic ice-core SO42− time series demonstrates that at several sites concentrations of ssSO42− are higher when sea-ice extent (SIE) is greater, and the inverse for xsSO42−. Concentrations of xsSO42− from the South Pole site (East Antarctica) are associated with SIE from the Weddell region, and West Antarctic xsSO42− concentrations are associated with SIE from the Bellingshausen–Amundsen–Ross region. The only notable rise of the last 200 years in xsSO42−, around 1940, is not related to SIE fluctuations and is most likely a result of increased xsSO42− production in the mid–low latitudes and/or an increase in transport efficiency from the mid–low latitudes to central West Antarctica. These high-resolution records show that the source types and source areas of ssSO42− and xsSO42− delivered to eastern and western West Antarctica and the South Pole differ from site to site but can best be resolved using records from spatial ice-core arrays such as the International Trans-Antarctic Scientific Expedition (ITASE).

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2005-06-01

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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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