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Accumulation variability over a small area in east Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica, as determined from shallow firn cores and snow pits: some implications for ice-core records

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We investigate and quantify the variability of snow accumulation rate around a medium-depth firn core (160 m) drilled in east Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica (75°00′S, 15°00′E; 3470 m h.a.e. (ellipsoidal height)). We present accumulation data from five snow pits and five shallow (20 m) firn cores distributed within a 3.5–7 km distance, retrieved during the 2000/01 Nordic EPICA (European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica) traverse. Snow accumulation rates estimated for shorter periods show higher spatial variance than for longer periods. Accumulation variability as recorded from the firn cores and snow pits cannot explain all the variation in the ion and isotope time series; other depositional and post-depositional processes need to be accounted for. Through simple statistical analysis we show that there are differences in sensitivity to these processes between the analyzed species. Oxygen isotopes and sulphate are more conservative in their post-depositional behaviour than the more volatile acids, such as nitrate and to some degree chloride and methanesulphonic acid. We discuss the possible causes for the accumulation variability and the implications for the interpretation of ice-core records.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2005

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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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