Short Name:

Stable Isotope Studies at East Antarctic US ITASE Sites

This award supports a project to obtain stable isotope profiles from shallow (<100 m) ice cores from East Antarctica, to add to the growing database of environmental proxy data collected under the auspices of the "ITASE" (International TransAntarctic Scientific Expedition) program. In Antarctica, the instrumental record of climate is particularly short (~40 years except in a few isolated locations on the coast), and ice core proxy data are the only means available for extending this record into the past. The use of stable isotopes of water (18-O/16-O and D/H ratios) from ice cores as proxies for temperature is well established for both very short (i.e. seasonal) and long timescales (centuries, millennia). Using multivariate regression methods and shallow ice cores from West Antarctica, a reconstruction of Antarctic climate over the last ~150 years has been developed which suggests the continent has been warming, on average, at a rate of ~0.2 K/century. Further improving these reconstructions is the chief motivation for further extending the US ITASE project. Ten to fifteen shallow (~100 m) from Victoria Land, East Antarctica will be obtained and analyzed. The core will be collected along a traverse route beginning at Taylor Dome and ending at the South Pole. Age-depth relationships for the cores will be determined through a combination of stable isotopes, visual stratigraphy and seasonal chemical signatures and marker horizons. Reconstructions of Antarctic climate obtained from these cores will be incorporated into the global network of paleoclimate information, which has been important in science, policy and educational contexts. The project will include graduate student and postdoctoral training and field experience.

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