Snow accumulation rates in northern Victoria Land, Antarctica, by firn-core analysis

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A multiparametric (chemical, isotopic and physical) study on three shallowfirn cores sampled in northern Victoria Land was carried out to obtain glaciological information and climatic data in this Antarctic region. Sampling areas were accurately prospected to identify sites, located at different altitudes and distances from the sea, where the snowaccumulation was not influenced by katabatic wind redistribution or summer melting. Stratigraphic, isotopic (18O) and chemical (H2O2, MSA and nssSO42—) profiles were mutually examined for dating purposes and to determine the mean snow-accumulation rates at three different stations. Annual accumulation rates of 85—420 kg m—2a—1 were determined in the period 1971^92. An inverse pattern between accumulation rate and altitude was shown by the progression of the mean annual rates of 160, 203 and 260 kg m—2 a—1, respectively, in the highest, medium and lowest stations. The mean accumulation value of all northernVictoria Land data available,170 kg m—2 a—1, represents a decrease of up to 35% with respect to the estimated value most widely used until now. Our accumulation value is very close to that required for a zero net surface mass balance accord- ing to ice discharge. A linear relationship with a gradient of 0.81‰ °C—1 has been found between mean 18O values and mean annual surface temperature for different ice cores drilled in northernVictoria Land.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2000

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  • The Journal of Glaciology is published six times per year. It accepts submissions from any discipline related to the study of snow and ice. All articles are peer reviewed. The Journal is included in the ISI Science Citation Index.
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