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  1. Abstract The stable isotope ratios of oxygen and hydrogen in polar ice cores are known to record environmental change, and they have been widely used as a paleothermometer. Although it is known to be a simplification, the relationship is often explained by invoking a single condensation pathway with progressive distillation to the temperature at the location of the ice core. In reality, the physical factors are complicated, and recent studies have identified robust aspects of the hydrologic cycle’s response to climate change that could influence the isotope-temperature relationship. In this study, we introduce a new zonal-mean isotope model derived frommore »radiative transfer theory, and incorporate it into a recently developed moist energy balance climate model (MEBM), thus providing an internally consistent representation of the tight physical coupling between temperature, hydrology, and isotope ratios in the zonal-mean climate. The isotope model reproduces the observed pattern of meteoric δ 18 O in the modern climate, and allows us to evaluate the relative importance of different processes for the temporal correlation between δ 18 O and temperature at high latitudes. We find that the positive temporal correlation in polar ice cores is predominantly a result of suppressed high-latitude evaporation with cooling, rather than local temperature changes. The same mechanism also explains the difference in the strength of the isotope-temperature relationship between Greenland and Antarctica.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 24, 2022
  2. Abstract. In 2013 an ice core was recovered from Roosevelt Island, an ice dome between two submarine troughs carved by paleo-ice-streams in the Ross Sea, Antarctica. The ice core is part of the Roosevelt Island Climate Evolution (RICE) project and provides new information about the past configuration of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) and its retreat during the last deglaciation. In this work we present the RICE17 chronology, which establishes the depth–age relationship for the top 754 m of the 763 m core. RICE17 is a composite chronology combining annual layer interpretations for 0–343 m (Winstrup et al., 2019) with new estimates for gasmore »and ice ages based on synchronization of CH4 and δ18Oatm records to corresponding records from the WAIS Divide ice core and by modeling of the gas age–ice age difference. Novel aspects of this work include the following: (1) an automated algorithm for multiproxy stratigraphic synchronization of high-resolution gas records; (2) synchronization using centennial-scale variations in methane for pre-anthropogenic time periods (60–720 m, 1971 CE to 30 ka), a strategy applicable for future ice cores; and (3) the observation of a continuous climate record back to ∼65 ka providing evidence that the Roosevelt Island Ice Dome was a constant feature throughout the last glacial period.« less
  3. Abstract. The last deglaciation, which occurred from 18 000 to 11 000 years ago,is the most recent large natural climatic variation of global extent. Withaccurately dated paleoclimate records, we can investigate the timings ofrelated variables in the climate system during this major transition. Here,we use an accurate relative chronology to compare temperature proxy data andglobal atmospheric CO2 as recorded in Antarctic ice cores. In addition tofive regional records, we compare a δ18O stack, representingAntarctic climate variations with the high-resolution robustly dated WAISDivide CO2 record (West Antarctic Ice Sheet). We assess the CO2 and Antarctic temperature phaserelationship using a stochastic method to accurately identifymore »the probabletimings of changes in their trends. Four coherent changes are identified forthe two series, and synchrony between CO2 and temperature is within the95 % uncertainty range for all of the changes except the end of glacial termination 1 (T1). During the onset of the last deglaciation at 18 ka and the deglaciationend at 11.5 ka, Antarctic temperature most likely led CO2 by several centuries (by 570 years, within a range of 127 to 751 years, 68 %probability, at the T1 onset; and by 532 years, within a range of 337 to 629years, 68 % probability, at the deglaciation end). At 14.4 ka, the onsetof the Antarctic Cold Reversal (ACR) period, our results do not show a clearlead or lag (Antarctic temperature leads by 50 years, within a range of−137 to 376 years, 68 % probability). The same is true at the end of the ACR(CO2 leads by 65 years, within a range of 211 to 117 years, 68 %probability). However, the timings of changes in trends for the individualproxy records show variations from the stack, indicating regional differencesin the pattern of temperature change, particularly in the WAIS Divide recordat the onset of the deglaciation; the Dome Fuji record at the deglaciationend; and the EDML record after 16 ka (EPICA Dronning Maud Land, where EPICA is the European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica). In addition, two changes – one at 16 ka in the CO2 record and one after the ACR onset in three of theisotopic temperature records – do not have high-probability counterparts in the other record. The likely-variable phasing we identify testify to thecomplex nature of the mechanisms driving the carbon cycle and Antarctictemperature during the deglaciation.« less
  4. Abstract. The last glacial period is characterized by a number of millennial climateevents that have been identified in both Greenland and Antarctic ice coresand that are abrupt in Greenland climate records. The mechanisms governingthis climate variability remain a puzzle that requires a precisesynchronization of ice cores from the two hemispheres to be resolved.Previously, Greenland and Antarctic ice cores have been synchronizedprimarily via their common records of gas concentrations or isotopes fromthe trapped air and via cosmogenic isotopes measured on the ice. In thiswork, we apply ice core volcanic proxies and annual layer counting toidentify large volcanic eruptions that have leftmore »a signature in bothGreenland and Antarctica. Generally, no tephra is associated with thoseeruptions in the ice cores, so the source of the eruptions cannot beidentified. Instead, we identify and match sequences of volcanic eruptionswith bipolar distribution of sulfate, i.e. unique patterns of volcanicevents separated by the same number of years at the two poles. Using thisapproach, we pinpoint 82 large bipolar volcanic eruptions throughout thesecond half of the last glacial period (12–60 ka). Thisimproved ice core synchronization is applied to determine the bipolarphasing of abrupt climate change events at decadal-scale precision. Inresponse to Greenland abrupt climatic transitions, we find a response in theAntarctic water isotope signals (δ18O and deuterium excess)that is both more immediate and more abrupt than that found with previousgas-based interpolar synchronizations, providing additional support for ourvolcanic framework. On average, the Antarctic bipolar seesaw climateresponse lags the midpoint of Greenland abrupt δ18O transitionsby 122±24 years. The time difference between Antarctic signals indeuterium excess and δ18O, which likewise informs the timeneeded to propagate the signal as described by the theory of the bipolarseesaw but is less sensitive to synchronization errors, suggests anAntarctic δ18O lag behind Greenland of 152±37 years.These estimates are shorter than the 200 years suggested by earliergas-based synchronizations. As before, we find variations in the timing andduration between the response at different sites and for different eventssuggesting an interaction of oceanic and atmospheric teleconnection patternsas well as internal climate variability.« less
  5. Marine sediments, speleothems, paleo-lake elevations, and ice core methane and δ18O of O2 (δ18Oatm) records provide ample evidence for repeated abrupt meridional shifts in tropical rainfall belts throughout the last glacial cycle. To improve understanding of the impact of abrupt events on the global terrestrial biosphere, we present composite records of δ18Oatm and inferred changes in fractionation by the global terrestrial biosphere (ΔεLAND) from discrete gas measurements in the WAIS Divide (WD) and Siple Dome (SD) Antarctic ice cores. On the common WD timescale, it is evident that maxima in ΔεLAND are synchronous with or shortly follow small-amplitude WD CH4more »peaks that occur within Heinrich stadials 1, 2, 4, and 5 – periods of low atmospheric CH4 concentrations. These local CH4 maxima have been suggested as markers of abrupt climate responses to Heinrich events. Based on our analysis of the modern seasonal cycle of gross primary productivity (GPP)-weighted δ18O of terrestrial precipitation (the source water for atmospheric O2 production), we propose a simple mechanism by which ΔεLAND tracks the centroid latitude of terrestrial oxygen production. As intense rainfall and oxygen production migrate northward, ΔεLAND should decrease due to the underlying meridional gradient in rainfall δ18O. A southward shift should increase ΔεLAND. Monsoon intensity also influences δ18O of precipitation, and although we cannot determine the relative contributions of the two mechanisms, both act in the same direction. Therefore, we suggest that abrupt increases in ΔεLAND unambiguously imply a southward shift of tropical rainfall. The exact magnitude of this shift, however, remains under-constrained by ΔεLAND.« less
  6. Abstract. We present a 2700-year annually resolved chronology and snow accumulationhistory for the Roosevelt Island Climate Evolution (RICE) ice core, Ross IceShelf, West Antarctica. The core adds information on past accumulationchanges in an otherwise poorly constrained sector of Antarctica. The timescale was constructed by identifying annual cycles inhigh-resolution impurity records, and it constitutes the top part of theRoosevelt Island Ice Core Chronology 2017 (RICE17). Validation by volcanicand methane matching to the WD2014 chronology from the WAIS Divide ice coreshows that the two timescales are in excellent agreement. In a companionpaper, gas matching to WAIS Divide is used to extend the timescale formore »thedeeper part of the core in which annual layers cannot be identified. Based on the annually resolved timescale, we produced a record of past snowaccumulation at Roosevelt Island. The accumulation history shows thatRoosevelt Island experienced slightly increasing accumulation rates between700 BCE and 1300 CE, with an average accumulation of 0.25±0.02 mwater equivalent (w.e.) per year. Since 1300 CE, trends in the accumulationrate have been consistently negative, with an acceleration in the rate ofdecline after the mid-17th century. The current accumulation rate atRoosevelt Island is 0.210±0.002 m w.e. yr−1 (average since 1965 CE, ±2σ), and it is rapidly declining with a trend corresponding to0.8 mm yr−2. The decline observed since the mid-1960s is 8 times fasterthan the long-term decreasing trend taking place over the previouscenturies, with decadal mean accumulation rates consistently being belowaverage. Previous research has shown a strong link between Roosevelt Islandaccumulation rates and the location and intensity of the Amundsen Sea Low,which has a significant impact on regional sea-ice extent. The decrease inaccumulation rates at Roosevelt Island may therefore be explained in termsof a recent strengthening of the ASL and the expansion of sea ice in the easternRoss Sea. The start of the rapid decrease in RICE accumulation ratesobserved in 1965 CE may thus mark the onset of significant increases inregional sea-ice extent.« less
  7. Abstract. The South Pole Ice Core (SPICEcore) was drilled in 2014–2016 to provide adetailed multi-proxy archive of paleoclimate conditions in East Antarcticaduring the Holocene and late Pleistocene. Interpretation of these recordsrequires an accurate depth–age relationship. Here, we present the SPICEcore (SP19) timescale for the age of the ice of SPICEcore. SP19 is synchronized to theWD2014 chronology from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide (WAIS Divide) icecore using stratigraphic matching of 251 volcanic events. These eventsindicate an age of 54 302±519 BP (years before 1950) at thebottom of SPICEcore. Annual layers identified in sodium and magnesium ionsto 11 341 BP were used to interpolate betweenmore »stratigraphic volcanic tiepoints, yielding an annually resolved chronology through the Holocene.Estimated timescale uncertainty during the Holocene is less than 18 yearsrelative to WD2014, with the exception of the interval between 1800 to 3100BP when uncertainty estimates reach ±25 years due to widely spacedvolcanic tie points. Prior to the Holocene, uncertainties remain within 124 years relative to WD2014. Results show an average Holocene accumulation rateof 7.4 cm yr−1 (water equivalent). The time variability of accumulation rateis consistent with expectations for steady-state ice flow through the modernspatial pattern of accumulation rate. Time variations in nitrateconcentration, nitrate seasonal amplitude and δ15N of N2 in turn are as expected for the accumulation rate variations. The highlyvariable yet well-constrained Holocene accumulation history at the site canhelp improve scientific understanding of deposition-sensitive climateproxies such as δ15N of N2 and photolyzed chemicalcompounds.« less