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Discussion papers | Copyright
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 26 Jun 2018

Research article | 26 Jun 2018

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

An 83 000 year old ice core from Roosevelt Island, Ross Sea, Antarctica

James E. Lee1, Edward J. Brook1, Nancy A. N. Bertler2,3, Christo Buizert1, Troy Baisden3,a, Thomas Blunier4, V. Gabriela Ciobanu4, Howard Conway5, Dorthe Dahl-Jensen4, Tyler J. Fudge5, Richard Hindmarsh6, Elizabeth D. Keller3, Frédéric Parrenin7, Jeffrey P. Severinghaus8, Paul Vallelonga4, Edwin D. Waddington5, and Mai Winstrup4 James E. Lee et al.
  • 1College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA
  • 2Antarctic Research Centre, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
  • 3GNS Science, Gracefield, Lower Hutt, 5010, New Zealand
  • 4Centre for Ice and Climate, Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 5Department of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA
  • 6British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge CB3 0ET, UK
  • 7University Grenoble Alpes, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, Institut des Géosciences de l’Environnement, 38000 Grenoble, France
  • 8Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA
  • anow at: Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand

Abstract. In 2013, an ice core was recovered from Roosevelt Island in the Ross Sea, Antarctica, as part of the Roosevelt Island Climate Evolution (RICE) project. Roosevelt Island is located between two submarine troughs carved by paleo-ice-streams. The RICE ice core provides new important information about the past configuration of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and its retreat during the most recent deglaciation. In this work, we present the RICE17 chronology and discuss preliminary observations from the new records of methane, the isotopic composition of atmospheric molecular oxygen (δ18O-Oatm), the isotopic composition of atmospheric molecular nitrogen (δ15N-N2) and total air content (TAC). RICE17 is a composite chronology combining annual layer interpretations, gas synchronization, and firn modeling strategies in different sections of the core. An automated matching algorithm is developed for synchronizing the high-resolution section of the RICE gas records (60–720m, 1971CE to 30ka) to corresponding records from the WAIS Divide ice core, while deeper sections are manually matched. Ice age for the top 343m (2635yr BP, before 1950C.E.) is derived from annual layer interpretations and described in the accompanying paper by Winstrup et al. (2017). For deeper sections, the RICE17 ice age scale is based on the gas age constraints and the ice age-gas age offset estimated by a firn densification model.

Novel aspects of this work include: 1) stratigraphic matching of centennial-scale variations in methane for pre-anthropogenic time periods, a strategy which will be applicable for developing precise chronologies for future ice cores, 2) the observation of centennial-scale variability in methane throughout the Holocene which suggests that similar variations during the late preindustrial period need not be anthropogenic, and 3) the observation of continuous climate records dating back to ∼65ka which provide evidence that the Roosevelt Island Ice Dome was a constant feature throughout the last glacial period.

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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
The Roosevelt Island ice core was drilled to investigate climate from the eastern Ross Sea, West Antarctica. We describe the depth-age scale of the ice core for 343–763 m (2635–83 000 yr b1950). Old ice near the bottom of the core implies the ice dome existed throughout the last glacial period and that ice streaming was active in the region. Variations of methane, similar to those used as evidence of early human influence on climate, was observed prior significant human population.
The Roosevelt Island ice core was drilled to investigate climate from the eastern Ross Sea, West...