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Regional and temporal variation of accumulation around NorthGRIP derived from ground-penetrating radar

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During the summer of 2003, a ground-penetrating radar survey around the North Greenland Icecore Project (NorthGRIP) deep ice-core drilling site (75°06′ N, 42°20′ W; 2957 m a.s.l.) was carried out using a shielded 250 MHz radar system. The drill site is located on an ice divide, roughly 300 km north-northwest of the summit of the Greenland ice sheet. More than 430 km of profiles were measured, covering a 10 km by 10 km area, with a grid centered on the drilling location, and eight profiles extending beyond this grid. Seven internal horizons within the upper 120 m of the ice sheet were continuously tracked, containing the last 400 years of accumulation history. Based on the age–depth and density–depth distribution of the deep core, the internal layers have been dated and the regional and temporal distribution of accumulation rate in the vicinity of NorthGRIP has been derived. The distribution of accumulation shows a relatively smoothly increasing trend from east to west from 145 kg m−2 a−1 to 200 kg m−2 a−1 over a distance of 50 km across the ice divide. The general trend is overlain by small-scale variations on the order of 2.5 kg m−2 a−1 km−1, i.e. around 1.5% of the accumulation mean. The temporal variations of the seven periods defined by the seven tracked isochrones are on the order of ±4% of the mean of the last 400 years, i.e. at NorthGRIP ±7 kg m−2 a−1. If the regional accumulation pattern has been stable for the last several thousand years during the Holocene, and ice flow has been comparable to today, advective effects along the particle trajectory upstream of NorthGRIP do not have a significant effect on the interpretation of climatically induced changes in accumulation rates derived from the deep ice core over the last 10 kyr.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2005-08-01

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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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