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Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2017-18
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
28 Mar 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal Climate of the Past (CP).
Review of regional Antarctic snow accumulation over the past 1000 years
Elizabeth R. Thomas1, J. Melchior van Wessem2, Jason Roberts3,4, Elisabeth Isaksson5, Elisabeth Schlosser6,7, TJ Fudge8, Paul Vallelonga9, Brooke Medley10, Jan Lenaerts2, Nancy Bertler11,12, Michiel R. van den Broeke2, Daniel A. Dixon13, Massimo Frezzotti14, Barbara Stenni15,16, Mark Curran3, and Alexey A. Ekaykin17,18 1British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK CB3 0ET
2Institute for Marine and Atmospheric research Utrecht (IMAU), Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
3Australian Antarctic Division, Tasmania 7050, Australia
4Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, University of Tasmania, Hobart, 7001, Australia
5Norwegian Polar Institute, 9296 Tromsø, Norway
6Austrian Polar Research Institute, Vienna, Austria
7Inst. of Atmospheric and Cryospheric Sciences, Univ. of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
8University of Washington, Seattle, USA
9Centre for Ice and Climate, Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
10Cryospheric Sciences Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, USA
11Antarctic Research Centre, Victoria University, Wellington 6012, New Zealand
12National Ice Core Research Laboratory, GNS Science, Lower Hutt 5040, New Zealand
13Climate Change Institute, University of Maine, Orono, Maine 04469, USA
14ENEA, Agenzia Nazionale per le nuove tecnologie, l'energia e lo sviluppo sostenibile, Rome, Italy
15Department of Environmental Sciences, Informatics and Statistics, Ca' Foscari University of Venice, Italy
16Institute for the Dynamics of Environmental Processes, CNR, Venice, Italy
17Climate and Environmental Research Laboratory, Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, St. Petersburg, 199397, Russia
18Institute of Earth Sciences, Saint Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg, 199178, Russia
Abstract. Here we review Antarctic snow accumulation variability, at the regional scale, over the past 1000 years. A total of 80 ice core snow accumulation records were gathered, as part of a community led project coordinated by the PAGES Antarctica 2k working group. The ice cores were assigned to seven geographical regions, separating the high accumulation coastal zones below 2000 m elevation from the dry central Antarctic Plateau. The regional composites of annual snow accumulation were evaluated against modelled surface mass balance (SMB) from RACMO2.4 and precipitation from ERA-interim reanalysis. With the exception of the Weddell Sea coast, the low-elevation composites capture the regional precipitation and SMB variability. The central Antarctic sites lack coherency and are either not representing regional precipitation or indicate the models inability to capture relevant precipitation processes in the cold, dry central plateau. The drivers of precipitation are reviewed for each region and the temporal variability and trends evaluated over the past 100, 200 and 1000 years. Our study suggests an overall increase in SMB across the grounded Antarctic ice sheet of ~ 44 GT since 1800 AD, with the largest (area-weighted) contribution from the Antarctic Peninsula (AP). Only four ice core records cover the full 1000 years and suggest a decrease in snow accumulation during this period. However, our study emphasizes the importance of low elevation coastal zones (especially AP and DML), which have been underrepresented in previous investigations of temporal snow accumulation.

Citation: Thomas, E. R., van Wessem, J. M., Roberts, J., Isaksson, E., Schlosser, E., Fudge, T., Vallelonga, P., Medley, B., Lenaerts, J., Bertler, N., van den Broeke, M. R., Dixon, D. A., Frezzotti, M., Stenni, B., Curran, M., and Ekaykin, A. A.: Review of regional Antarctic snow accumulation over the past 1000 years, Clim. Past Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2017-18, in review, 2017.
Elizabeth R. Thomas et al.
Elizabeth R. Thomas et al.
Elizabeth R. Thomas et al.

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Short summary
Regional Antarctic snow accumulation, derived from 80 ice core records, is evaluated as part of the PAGES Antarctica 2k working group. We find an overall increase in snow accumulation across the grounded Antarctic ice sheet of ~ 44 GT since 1800 AD, with the largest contribution from the Antarctic Peninsula. Our study emphasizes the importance of low elevation coastal zones, which have been underrepresented in previous investigations of temporal surface mass balance.
Regional Antarctic snow accumulation, derived from 80 ice core records, is evaluated as part of...
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