Challenges associated with the climatic interpretation of water stable isotope records from a highly resolved firn core from Adélie Land, coastal Antarctica

Goursaud, Sentia; Masson-Delmotte, Valérie; Favier, Vincent; Preunkert, Suzanne; Legrand, Michel; Minster, Bénédicte; Werner, Martin

A new 21.3 m firn core was drilled in 2015 at a coastal Antarctic high-accumulation site in Adélie Land (66.78 S; 139.56 E, 602 m a.s.l.), named Terre Adélie 192A (TA192A).

The mean isotopic values (-19.3±3.1 ‰ for δ18O and 5.4 ‰±2.2 ‰ for deuterium excess) are consistent with other coastal Antarctic values. No significant isotope–temperature relationship can be evidenced at any timescale. This rules out a simple interpretation in terms of local temperature. An observed asymmetry in the δ18O seasonal cycle may be explained by the precipitation of air masses coming from the eastern and western sectors in autumn and winter, recorded in the d-excess signal showing outstanding values in austral spring versus autumn. Significant positive trends are observed in the annual d-excess record and local sea ice extent (135–145 E) over the period 1998–2014.

However, process studies focusing on resulting isotopic compositions and particularly the deuterium excess–δ18O relationship, evidenced as a potential fingerprint of moisture origins, as well as the collection of more isotopic measurements in Adélie Land are needed for an accurate interpretation of our signals.

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Goursaud, Sentia / Masson-Delmotte, Valérie / Favier, Vincent / et al: Challenges associated with the climatic interpretation of water stable isotope records from a highly resolved firn core from Adélie Land, coastal Antarctica. 2019. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: Sentia Goursaud et al.

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