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Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 13 Dec 2018

Research article | 13 Dec 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Climate of the Past (CP).

Varying regional δ18O–temperature relationship in high resolution stable water isotopes from East Greenland

Christian Holme1, Vasileios Gkinis1, Mika Lanzky1,2, Valerie Morris3, Martin Olesen4, Abigail Thayer3, Bruce H. Vaughn3, and Bo M. Vinther1 Christian Holme et al.
  • 1Centre for Ice and Climate, The Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 2Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, Norway
  • 3Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • 4Danish Climate Centre, Danish Meteorological Institute, Copenhagen, Denmark

Abstract. This study examines the stable water isotope signal (δ18O) of three ice cores drilled on the Renland peninsula (East Greenland coast). While ice core δ18O measurements qualitatively are a measure of the local temperature history, the δ18O variability actually reflects the integrated hydrological activity that the deposited ice experienced from the evaporation source to the condensation site. Thus, as Renland is located next to a fluctuating sea ice cover, the transfer function used to infer past temperatures from the δ18O variability is potentially influenced by variations in the local moisture conditions. The objective of this study is therefore to evaluate the δ18O variability of ice cores drilled on Renland and examine what amount that can be attributed to regional temperature variations. In the analysis, three ice cores are utilized to create stacked summer, winter and annually averaged δ18O signals (AD 1801–2014). The imprint of temperature on δ18O is first examined by correlating the δ18O stacks with instrumental temperature records from East Greenland (AD 1895–2014) and Iceland (AD 1830–2014) and with the regional climate model HIRHAM5 (AD 1980–2014). The results show that the δ18O variability correlates with regional temperatures on both a seasonal and an annual scale between 1910–2014 while δ18O is uncorrelated with Iceland temperatures between 1830–1909. Our analysis indicates that the unstable regional δ18O-temperature correlation does not result from changes in weather patterns through respectively strengthening and weakening of the North Atlantic Oscillation. Instead, the results imply that the varying δ18O-temperature relation is connected with the volume flux of sea ice exported through Fram Strait (and south along the coast of East Greenland). Notably, the δ18O variability only reflects the variations in regional temperature when the temperature anomaly is positive and the sea ice export anomaly is negative. It is hypothesized that this could be caused by a larger sea ice volume flux during cold years which suppresses the Iceland temperature signature in the Renland δ18O signal. However, more isotope-enabled modeling studies with emphasis on coastal ice caps are needed in order to quantify the mechanisms behind this observation. As the amount of Renland δ18O variability that reflects regional temperature varies with time, the results have implications for studies performing regression-based δ18O-temperature reconstructions based on ice cores drilled in the vicinity of a fluctuating sea ice cover.

Christian Holme et al.
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Christian Holme et al.
Christian Holme et al.
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Short summary
This study investigates the linear relationship between the water isotopes of three East Greenland ice cores and regional temperatures. By comparing the water isotopes with nearby instrumental temperature records and reanalysis data, this study demonstrates that it can be problematic to reconstruct temperatures through regression of water isotope data from coastal ice cores. We further show that the varying linear relationship could be connected with changes in sea ice near the drill site.
This study investigates the linear relationship between the water isotopes of three East...