Surface mass balance and water stable isotopes derived from firn cores on three ice rises, Fimbul Ice Shelf, Antarctica

Vega, Carmen P.; Schlosser, Elisabeth; Divine, Dmitry V.; Kohler, Jack; Martma, Tõnu; Eichler, Anja; Schwikowski, Margit; Isaksson, Elisabeth

Three shallow firn cores were retrieved in the austral summers of 2011/12 and 2013/14 on the ice rises Kupol Ciolkovskogo (KC), Kupol Moskovskij (KM), and Blåskimen Island (BI), all part of Fimbul Ice Shelf (FIS) in western Dronning Maud Land (DML), Antarctica. The cores were dated back to 1958 (KC), 1995 (KM), and 1996 (BI) by annual layer counting using high-resolution oxygen isotope ( δ18O) data, and by identifying volcanic horizons using non-sea-salt sulfate (nssSO 42−) data. The water stable isotope records show that the atmospheric signature of the annual snow accumulation cycle is well preserved in the firn column, especially at KM and BI. We are able to determine the annual surface mass balance (SMB), as well as the mean SMB values between identified volcanic horizons. Average SMB at the KM and BI sites (0.68 and 0.70 m 0.125emnobreakw. e.  0.125emnobreakyr −1) was higher than at the KC site (0.24 m nobreak0.125emw. e.  nobreak0.125emyr −1), and there was greater temporal variability as well. Trends in the SMB and δ18O records from the KC core over the period of 1958–2012 agree well with other previously investigated cores in the area, thus the KC site could be considered the most representative of the climate of the region. Cores from KM and BI appear to be more affected by local meteorological conditions and surface topography. Our results suggest that the ice rises are suitable sites for the retrieval of longer firn and ice cores, but that BI has the best preserved seasonal cycles of the three records and is thus the most optimal site for high-resolution studies of temporal variability of the climate signal. Deuterium excess data suggest a possible effect of seasonal moisture transport changes on the annual isotopic signal. In agreement with previous studies, large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns most likely provide the dominant influence on water stable isotope ratios preserved at the core sites.

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Vega, Carmen P. / Schlosser, Elisabeth / Divine, Dmitry V. / et al: Surface mass balance and water stable isotopes derived from firn cores on three ice rises, Fimbul Ice Shelf, Antarctica. 2016. Copernicus Publications.

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