This award supports a project to measure the carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration in the WAIS Divide ice core covering the time period 25,000 to 60,000 years before present, and to analyze the isotopic composition of CO2 in selected time intervals. The research will improve understanding of how and why atmospheric CO2 varied during the last ice age, focusing particularly on abrupt transitions in the concentration record that are associated with abrupt climate change. These events represents large perturbations to the global climate system and better information about the CO2 response should inform our understanding of carbon cycle-climate feedbacks and radiative forcing of climate. The research will also improve analytical methods in support of these goals, including completing development of sublimation methods to replace laborious mechanical crushing of ice to release air for analysis. The intellectual merit of the proposed work is that it will increase knowledge about the magnitude and timing of atmospheric CO2 variations during the last ice age, and their relationship to regional climate in Antarctica, global climate history, and the history of abrupt climate change in the Northern Hemisphere. The temporal resolution of the proposed record will in most intervals be ~ 4 x higher than previous data sets for this time period, and for selected intervals up to 8-10 times higher. Broader impacts of the proposed work include a significant addition to the amount of data documenting the history of the most important long-lived greenhouse gas in the atmosphere and more information about carbon cycle-climate feedbacks - important parameters for predicting future climate change. The project will contribute to training a postdoctoral researcher, research experience for an undergraduate and a high school student, and outreach to local middle school and other students. It will also improve the analytical infrastructure at OSU, which will be available for future projects.
Ice cores contain detailed accounts of Earth's climate history. The collection of an ice core can be logistically challenging, and extraction of data from the core can be time-consuming as well as susceptible to both human and machine error. Furthermore, locked in measurements from ice cores is information that scientists have not yet found ways to recover. This project will apply techniques from information theory to ice-core data to unlock that information. The primary goal is to demonstrate that information theory can (a) identify regions of a specific ice-core record that are in need of further analysis and (b) provide some specific guidance for that analysis. A secondary goal is to demonstrate that information theory has practical and scientific utility for studies of past climate. This project aims to use information theory in two distinct ways: first, to identify regions of a core where information appears to be damaged or missing, perhaps due to human and/or machine error. In the segment of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide core that is 5000-8000 years old, for instance, information-theoretic methods reveal significant levels of noise, probably due to a laboratory instrument, and something that was not visible in the raw data. This is a particularly important segment of the record, as it contains valuable clues about climatic shifts and the onset of the Holocene. Targeted re-sampling of this segment of the core and reanalysis with newer laboratory apparatus could resolve the data issues. The second way in which information theory can potentially aid in ice-core analysis is by extracting climate signals from the data--such as the accumulation rate at the core site over the period of its formation. This quantity usually requires significant time and effort to produce, but information theory could help to streamline that process.This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.
This award supports a project to develop a better understanding of the relation between ice microstructure, impurities, and ice flow and their connection to climate history for the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) ice core site. This work builds on several ongoing studies at Siple Dome in West Antarctica and Dome C in East Antarctica. It is well known that the microstructure of ice evolves with depth and time in an ice sheet. This evolution of microstructure depends on the ice flow field, temperature, and impurity content. The ice flow field, in turn, depends on microstructure, leading to feedbacks that create layered variation in microstructure that relates to climate and flow history. The research proposed here focuses on developing a better understanding of: 1) how ice microstructure evolves with time and stress in an ice sheet and how that relates to impurity content, temperature, and strain rate; 2) how variations in ice microstructure and impurity content affect ice flow patterns near ice divides (on both small (1cm to 1m) and large (1m to 100km) scales); and 3) in what ways is the spatial variability of ice microstructure and its effect on ice flow important for interpretation of climate history in the WAIS Divide ice core. The study will integrate existing ice core and borehole data with a detailed study of ice microstructure using Electron Backscatter Diffraction (EBSD) techniques and measurements of borehole deformation through time using Acoustic Televiewers. This will be the first study to combine these two novel techniques for studying the relation between microstructure and deformation and it will build on other data being collected as part of other WAIS Divide borehole logging projects (e.g. sonic velocity, optical dust logging, temperature and other measurements on the ice core including fabric measurements from thin section analyses as well as studies of ice chemistry and stable isotopes. The intellectual merit of the work is that it will improve interpretation of ice core data (especially information on past accumulation) and overall understanding of ice flow. The broader impacts are that the work will ultimately contribute to a better interpretation of ice core records for both paleoclimate studies and for ice flow history, both of which connect to the broader questions of the role of ice in the climate system. The work will also advance the careers of two early-career female scientists, including one with a hearing impairment disability. This project will support a PhD student at the UAF and provide research and field experience for two or three undergraduates at Dartmouth. The PIs plan to include a teacher on their field team and collaborate with UAF's "From STEM to STEAM" toward enhancing the connection between art and science.
This dataset comprises new photographs and measurements of a WAIS Divide vertical thin section, WDC-06A 420 VTS, previously prepared and measured by J. Fitzpatrick, D. E. Voigt, and R. Alley (dataset DOI: 10.7265/N5W093VM; http://www.usap-dc.org/view/dataset/609605) as part of a larger study of the WAIS Divide ice core (Fitzpatrick, J. et al, 2014, Physical properties of the WAIS Divide ice core, Journal of Glaciology, 60, 224, 1181-1198. (doi:10.3189/2014JoG14J100). These images were taken as a design test of our new automated lightweight c-axis analyzer, dubbed ALPACA, which implements the ice fabric analysis functionality of the Wilen system used by Fitzpatrick et al. in an easily-portable, field-deployable form factor.
Overview: The funded work investigated whether ice core 86Kr acts as a proxy for barometric pressure variability, and whether this proxy can be used in Antarctic ice cores to infer past movement of the Southern Hemisphere (SH) westerly winds. Pressure variations drive macroscopic air movement in the firn column, which reduces the gravitational isotopic enrichment of slow-diffusing gases (such as Kr). The 86Kr deviation from gravitational equilibrium (denoted D86Kr) thus reflects the magnitude of pressure variations (among other things). Atmospheric reanalysis data suggest that pressure variability over Antarctica is linked to the Southern Annular Mode (SAM) index and the position of the SH westerly winds. Preliminary data from the WAIS Divide ice core show a large excursion in D86Kr during the last deglaciation (20-9 ka before present). In this project the investigators (1) performed high-precision 86Kr analysis on ice core and firn air samples to establish whether D86Kr is linked to pressure variability; (2) Refined the deglacial WAIS Divide record of Kr isotopes; (3) Investigated the role of pressure variability in firn air transport using firn air models with firn microtomography data and Lattice- Boltzmann modeling; and (4) Investigated how barometric pressure variability in Antarctica is linked to the SAM index and the position/strength of the SH westerlies in past and present climates using GCM and reanalysis data. A key finding was that D86Kr in recent ice samples (e.g. last 50 years) from a broad spatial array of sites in Antarctica and Greenland showed a significant correlation with directly measured barometric pressure variability at the ice core site. This strongly supports the hypothesis that 86Kr can be used as a paleo-proxy for storminess.
Intellectual Merit: The SH westerlies are a key component of the global climate system; they are an important control on the global oceanic overturning circulation and possibly on atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Poleward movement of the SH westerlies during the last deglaciation has been hypothesized, yet evidence from proxy and modeling studies remains inconclusive. The funded work could provide valuable new constraints on deglacial movement of the SH westerlies. This record can be compared to high-resolution CO2 data from the same core, allowing us to test hypotheses that link CO2 to the SH westerlies. Climate proxies are at the heart of paleoclimate research. The funded work has apparently led to the discovery of a completely new proxy, opening up exciting new research possibilities and increasing the scientific value of existing ice cores. Once validated, the 86Kr proxy could be applied to other time periods as well, providing a long-term perspective on the movement of the SH westerlies. The funded work has furthermore provided valuable new insights into firn air transport.
Broader impact: The Southern Ocean is presently an important sink of atmospheric CO2, thereby reducing the warming associated with anthropogenic CO2 emissions. Stratospheric ozone depletion and greenhouse warming have displaced the SH westerlies poleward, with potential consequences for the future magnitude of this oceanic carbon uptake. The funded work may provide a paleo-perspective on past movement of the SH westerlies and its link to atmospheric CO2, which could guide projections of future oceanic CO2 uptake, with strong societal benefits. The awarded funds supported and trained an early-career postdoctoral scholar at OSU, and fostered (international) collaboration. Data from the study will be available to the scientific community and the broad public through recognized data centers. During this project the PI and senior personnel have continued their commitment to public outreach through media interviews and speaking to schools and the public about their work. The PI provides services to the community by chairing the IPICS (International Partnership in Ice Core Sciences) working group and organizing annual PIRE (Partnerships in International Research and Education) workshops.
This award supports a project to obtain the first set of isotopic-based provenance data from the WAIS divide ice core. A lack of data from the WAIS prevents even a basic knowledge of whether different sources of dust blew around the Pacific and Atlantic sectors of the southern latitudes. Precise isotopic measurements on dust in the new WAIS ice divide core are specifically warranted because the data will be synergistically integrated with other high frequency proxies, such as dust concentration and flux, and carbon dioxide, for example. Higher resolution proxies will bridge gaps between our observations on the same well-dated, well-preserved core. The intellectual merit of the project is that the proposed analyses will contribute to the WAIS Divide Project science themes. Whether an active driver or passive recorder, dust is one of the most important but least understood components of regional and global climate. Collaborative and expert discussion with dust-climate modelers will lead to an important progression in understanding of dust and past atmospheric circulation patterns and climate around the southern latitudes, and help to exclude unlikely air trajectories to the ice sheets. The project will provide data to help evaluate models that simulate the dust patterns and cycle and the relative importance of changes in the sources, air trajectories and transport processes, and deposition to the ice sheet under different climate states. The results will be of broad interest to a range of disciplines beyond those directly associated with the WAIS ice core project, including the paleoceanography and dust- paleoclimatology communities. The broader impacts of the project include infrastructure and professional development, as the proposed research will initiate collaborations between LDEO and other WAIS scientists and modelers with expertise in climate and dust. Most of the researchers are still in the early phase of their careers and hence the project will facilitate long-term relationships. This includes a graduate student from UMaine, an undergraduate student from Columbia University who will be involved in lab work, in addition to a LDEO Postdoctoral scientist, and possibly an additional student involved in the international project PIRE-ICETRICS. The proposed research will broaden the scientific outlooks of three PIs, who come to Antarctic ice core science from a variety of other terrestrial and marine geology perspectives. Outreach activities include interaction with the science writers of the Columbia's Earth Institute for news releases and associated blog websites, public speaking, and involvement in an arts/science initiative between New York City's arts and science communities to bridge the gap between scientific knowledge and public perception.
Taylor/0944348<br/><br/>This award supports renewal of funding of the WAIS Divide Science Coordination Office (SCO). The Science Coordination Office (SCO) was established to represent the research community and facilitates the project by working with support organizations responsible for logistics, drilling, and core curation. During the last five years, 26 projects have been individually funded to work on this effort and 1,511 m of the total 3,470 m of ice at the site has been collected. This proposal seeks funding to continue the SCO and related field operations needed to complete the WAIS Divide ice core project. Tasks for the SCO during the second five years include planning and oversight of logistics, drilling, and core curation; coordinating research activities in the field; assisting in curation of the core in the field; allocating samples to individual projects; coordinating the sampling effort; collecting, archiving, and distributing data and other information about the project; hosting an annual science meeting; and facilitating collaborative efforts among the research groups. The intellectual merit of the WAIS Divide project is to better predict how human-caused increases in greenhouse gases will alter climate requires an improved understanding of how previous natural changes in greenhouse gases influenced climate in the past. Information on previous climate changes is used to validate the physics and results of climate models that are used to predict future climate. Antarctic ice cores are the only source of samples of the paleo-atmosphere that can be used to determine previous concentrations of carbon dioxide. Ice cores also contain records of other components of the climate system such as the paleo air and ocean temperature, atmospheric loading of aerosols, and indicators of atmospheric transport. The WAIS Divide ice core project has been designed to obtain the best possible record of greenhouse gases during the last glacial cycle (last ~100,000 years). The site was selected because it has the best balance of high annual snowfall (23 cm of ice equivalent/year), low dust Antarctic ice that does not compromise the carbon dioxide record, and favorable glaciology. The main science objectives of the project are to investigate climate forcing by greenhouse gases, initiation of climate changes, stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, and cryobiology in the ice core. The project has numerous broader impacts. An established provider of educational material (Teachers? Domain) will develop and distribute web-based resources related to the project and climate change for use in K?12 classrooms. These resources will consist of video and interactive graphics that explain how and why ice cores are collected, and what they tell us about future climate change. Members of the national media will be included in the field team and the SCO will assist in presenting information to the general public. Video of the project will be collected and made available for general use. Finally, an opportunity will be created for cryosphere students and early career scientists to participate in field activities and core analysis. An ice core archive will be available for future projects and scientific discoveries from the project can be used by policy makers to make informed decisions.
Steig/1341360<br/><br/>This award supports a two-year project to develop a method for rapid and precise measurements of the difference in 18O/16O and 17O/16O isotope ratios in water, referred to as the 17O-excess. Measurement of 17O-excess is a recent innovation in geochemistry, complementing traditional measurements of the ratios of hydrogen (D/H) and oxygen (18O/16O). Conventional measurements of 17O/16O are limited in number because of the time-consuming and laborious nature of the analyses, which involves the conversion of water to oxygen via fluorination, followed by high-precision mass spectrometry. This project will use a novel cavity ring-down spectroscopy (CRDS) system developed by a joint effort of the University of Washington and Picarro, Inc. (Santa Clara, CA), along with the Centre for Ice and Climate (Neils Bohr Institute, Copenhagen). The primary intellectual merit of the research is the improvement of the CRDS method for measurements of 17Oexcess of discrete samples of water, to obtain precision and accuracy competitive with conventional methods using mass spectrometry. This will be achieved by quantification of the effects of water vapor concentration variability and instrument memory, precise calibration of the instrument against standard waters, and improvements to the spectroscopic analyses. The CRDS system will also be coupled to continuous-flow systems for ice core analysis, in collaboration with the University of Colorado, Boulder. The goal is to have an operational system available for ice core processing associated with the next major U.S.-led ice core project at South Pole, in 2015-2017. The broader impacts of the research include the ability to measure 17O-excess in ambient atmospheric water vapor, which can be used to improve understanding of convection, moisture transport, and condensation. The instrument development work proposed here is relevant to research supported by several NSF-GEO programs, including Hydrology, Climate and Large Scale Dynamics, Paleoclimate, Atmosphere Chemistry, and both the Arctic and Antarctic Programs. This proposal will support a postdoctoral researcher.
Hastings/1246223<br/><br/>This award supports a project with the aim of distinguishing the sources of nitrate deposition to the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) using isotopic ratios snow in archive snow and ice samples. The isotopic composition of nitrate has been shown to contain information about the source of the nitrate (i.e. nitrogen oxides = NOx = NO+NO2) and the oxidation processes that convert NOx to nitrate in the atmosphere prior to deposition. A difficulty in interpreting records in the context of NOx sources is that nitrate can be post-depositionally processed in surface snow, such that the archived record does not reflect the composition of the atmosphere. This intellectual merit of this work specifically aims to investigate variability in the isotopic composition of nitrate in snow and ice from the WAIS in the context of accumulation rate, NOx source emissions, and atmospheric chemistry. These records will be interpreted in the context of our understanding of biospheric (biomass burning, microbial processes in soils), atmospheric (lightning, transport, chemistry), and climate (temperature, accumulation rate) changes over time. A graduate student will be supported as part of this project, and both graduate student and PI will be involved in communicating the utility and results of polar research to elementary school students in the Providence, RI area. The broader impacts of the project also include making efforts to attract more young, female scientists to polar research by establishing a connection between the Earth Science Women's Network (ESWN), an organization PI Hastings helped to establish, and the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS). Finally, results of all measurements will be presented at relevant conferences, made available publicly and published in peer-reviewed journals.
McConnell/1142166<br/><br/>This award supports a project to use unprecedented aerosol and continuous gas (methane, carbon monoxide) measurements of the deepest section of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide ice core to investigate rapid climate changes in Antarctica during the ~60,000 year long Marine Isotope Stage 3 period of the late Pleistocene. These analyses, combined with others, will take advantage of the high snow accumulation of the WAIS Divide ice core to yield the highest time resolution glaciochemical and gas record of any deep Antarctic ice core for this time period. The research will expand already funded discrete gas measurements and extend currently funded continuous aerosol measurements on the WAIS Divide ice core from ~25,000 to ~60,000 years before present, spanning Heinrich events 3 to 6 and Antarctic Isotope Maximum (AIM, corresponding to the Northern Hemisphere Dansgaard-Oeschger) events 3 to 14. With other high resolution Greenland cores and lower resolution Antarctic cores, the combined record will yield new insights into worldwide climate dynamics and abrupt change. The intellectual merit of the work is that it will be used to address the science goals of the WAIS Divide project including the identification of dust and biomass burning tracers such as black carbon and carbon monoxide which reflect mid- and low-latitude climate and atmospheric circulation patterns, and fallout from these sources affects marine and terrestrial biogeochemical cycles. Similarly, sea salt and ocean productivity tracers reflect changes in sea ice extent, marine primary productivity, wind speeds above the ocean, and atmospheric circulation. Volcanic tracers address the relationship between northern, tropical, and southern climates as well as stability of the West Antarctic ice sheet and sea level change. When combined with other gas records from WAIS Divide, the records developed here will transform understanding of mid- and low-latitude drivers of Antarctic, Southern Hemisphere, and global climate rapid changes and the timing of such changes. The broader impacts of the work are that it will enhance infrastructure through expansion of continuous ice core analytical techniques, train students and support collaboration between two U.S. institutions (DRI and OSU). All data will be made available to the scientific community and the public and will include participation the WAIS Divide Outreach Program. Extensive graduate and undergraduate student involvement is planned. Student recruitment will be made from under-represented groups building on a long track record. Broad outreach will be achieved through collaborations with the global and radiative modeling communities, NESTA-related and other educational outreach efforts, and public lectures. This proposed project does not require field work in the Antarctic.
This award supports a project to help to establish the depth-age chronology and the histories of accumulation and ice dynamics for the WAIS Divide ice core. The depth-age relationship and the histories of accumulation and ice dynamics are coupled. An accurate age scale is needed to infer histories of accumulation rate and ice-thickness change using ice-flow models. In turn, the accumulation-rate history is needed to calculate the age difference of ice to determine the age of the trapped gases. The accumulation history is also needed to calculate atmospheric concentrations of impurities trapped in the ice and is an important characteristic of climate. The history of ice-thickness change is also fundamental to understanding the stability of the WAIS. The primary goals of the WAIS Divide ice core project are to investigate climate forcing by greenhouse gases, the initiation of climate changes, and the stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). An accurate age scale is fundamental for achieving these goals. The first objective of this project is to establish an annually resolved depth-age relationship for the past 40,000 years. This will be done by measuring variations in electrical conductivity along the ice core, which are caused by seasonal variations in chemistry. We expect to be able to resolve annual layers back to 40,000 years before present (3,000 m depth) using this method. The second objective is to search for stratigraphic disturbances in the core that would compromise the paleoclimate record. Irregular layering will be identified by measuring the electrical conductivity of the ice in a vertical plan through the core. The third objective is to derive a preliminary chronology for the entire core. For the deeper ice we will use an ice-flow model to interpolate between known age markers, such as dated volcanic horizons and tie points from the methane gas chronology. The fourth objective is to derive a refined chronology simultaneously with histories of accumulation and ice-sheet thickness. An ice-flow model and all available data will be used to formulate an inverse problem, in which we infer the most appropriate histories of accumulation and ice-thickness, together with estimates of uncertainties. The flow model associated with those preferred histories then produces the best estimate of the chronology. The research contributes directly to the primary goals of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Initiative. The project will help develop the next generation of scientists through the education and training of one Ph.D. student and several undergraduate students. This project will result in instrumentation for measuring the electrical conductivity of ice cores being available at the National Ice Core Lab for other researchers to use on other projects. All collaborators are committed to fostering diversity and currently participate in scientific outreach and most participate in undergraduate education. Outreach will be accomplished through regularly scheduled community and K-12 outreach events at UW, talks and popular writing by the PIs, as well as through our respective press offices.
0538520<br/>Thiemens<br/>This award supports a project to develop the first complete record of multiple isotope ratios of nitrate and sulfate covering the last ~100,000 years, from the deep ice core planned for the central ice divide of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). The WAIS Divide ice core will be the highest resolution long ice core obtained from Antarctica and we can expect important complementary information to be available, including accurate knowledge of past accumulation rates, temperatures, and compounds such as H2O2, CO and CH4. These compounds play significant roles in global atmospheric chemistry and climate. Especially great potential lies in the use of multiple isotope signatures. The unique mass independent fractionation (MIF) 17O signature of ozone is observed in both nitrate and sulfate, due to the interaction of their precursors with ozone. The development of methods to measure the multiple-isotope composition of small samples of sulfate and nitrate makes continuous high resolution measurements on ice cores feasible for the first time. Recent work has shown that such measurements can be used to determine the hydroxyl radial (OH) and ozone (O3) concentrations in the paleoatmosphere as well as to apportion sulfate and nitrate sources. There is also considerable potential in using these isotope measurements to quantify post depositional changes. In the first two years, continuous measurements from the upper ~100-m of ice at WAIS divide will be obtained, to provide a detailed look at seasonal through centennial scale variability. In the third year, measurements will be made throughout the available depth of the deep core (expected to reach ~500 m at this time). The broader impacts of the project include applications to diverse fields including atmospheric chemistry, glaciology, meteorology, and paleoclimatology. Because nitrate and sulfate are important atmospheric pollutants, the results will also have direct and relevance to global environmental policy. This project will coincide with the International Polar Year (2007-2008), and contributes to goals of the IPY, which include the fostering of interdisciplinary research toward enhanced understanding of atmospheric chemistry and climate in the polar regions.
0538427<br/>McConnell <br/>This award supports a project to use unique, high-depth-resolution records of a range of elements, chemical species, and ice properties measured in two WAIS Divide shallow ice cores and one shallow British ice core from West Antarctic to address critical paleoclimate, environmental, and ice-sheet mass-balance questions. Recent development of the CFA-TE method for ice-core analysis presents the opportunity to develop high-resolution, broad-spectrum glaciochemical records at WAIS Divide at relatively modest cost. Together with CFA-TE measurements from Greenland and other Antarctic sites spanning recent decades to centuries, these rich data will open new avenues for using glaciochemical data to investigate environmental and global changes issues ranging from anthropogenic and volcanic-trace-element fallout to changes in hemispheric-scale circulation, biogeochemistry, rapid-climate-change events, long-term climate change, and ice-sheet mass balance. As part of the proposed research, collaborations with U.S., Argentine, and British researchers will be initiated and expanded to directly address three major IPY themes (i.e., present environmental status, past and present environmental and human change, and polar-global interactions). Included in the contributions from these international collaborators will be ice-core samples, ice-core and meteorological model data, and extensive expertise in Antarctic glaciology, climatology, meteorology, and biogeochemistry. The broader impacts of the work include the training of students. The project will partially support one Ph.D. student and hourly undergraduate involvement. Every effort will be made to attract students from underrepresented groups to these positions. To address the challenge of introducing results of scientific research to the public policy debate, we will continue efforts to publish findings in high visibility journals, provide research results to policy makers, and work with the NSF media office to reach the public through mass-media programs. K-12 teacher and classroom involvement will be realized through outreach to local schools and NSF's Teachers Experiencing the Antarctic and Arctic (or similar) program in collaboration with WAIS Divide and other polar researchers.
0539578<br/>Alley <br/>This award supports a five-year collaborative project to study the physical-properties of the planned deep ice core and the temperature of the ice in the divide region of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. The intellectual merit of the proposed research is to provide fundamental information on the state of the ice sheet, to validate the integrity of the climate record, to help reconstruct the climate record, and to understand the flow state and history of the ice sheet. This information will initially be supplied to other investigators and then to the public and to appropriate databases, and will be published in the refereed scientific literature. The objectives of the proposed research are to aid in dating of the core through counting of annual layers, to identify any exceptionally warm intervals in the past through counting of melt layers, to learn as much as possible about the flow state and history of the ice through measurement of size, shape and arrangements of bubbles, clathrate inclusions, grains and their c-axes, to identify any flow disturbances through these indicators, and to learn the history of snow accumulation and temperature from analyses of bubbles and borehole temperatures combined with flow modeling and use of data from other collaborators. These results will then be synthesized and communicated. Failure to examine cores can lead to erroneous identification of flow features as climate changes, so careful examination is required. Independent reconstruction of accumulation rate provides important data on climate change, and improves confidence in interpretation of other climate indicators. Borehole temperatures are useful recorders of temperature history. Flow state and history are important in understanding climate history and potential contribution of ice to sea-level change. By contributing to all of these and additional issues, the proposed research will be of considerable value. The broader impacts of the research include making available to the public improved knowledge on societally central questions involving abrupt climate change and sea-level rise. The project will also contribute to the education of advanced students, will utilize results in education of introductory students, and will make vigorous efforts in outreach, informal science education, and supplying information to policy-makers as requested, thus contributing to a more-informed society.
Steig/1043092<br/><br/>This award supports a project to contribute one of the cornerstone analyses, stable isotopes of ice (Delta-D, Delta-O18) to the ongoing West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide (WAIS) deep ice core. The WAIS Divide drilling project, a multi-institution project to obtain a continuous high resolution ice core record from central West Antarctica, reached a depth of 2560 m in early 2010; it is expected to take one or two more field seasons to reach the ice sheet bed (~3300 m), plus an additional four seasons for borehole logging and other activities including proposed replicate coring. The current proposal requests support to complete analyses on the WAIS Divide core to the base, where the age will be ~100,000 years or more. These analyses will form the basis for the investigation of a number of outstanding questions in climate and glaciology during the last glacial period, focused on the dynamics of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and the relationship of West Antarctic climate to that of the Northern polar regions, the tropical Pacific, and the rest of the globe, on time scales ranging from years to tens of thousands of years. One new aspect of this work is the growing expertise at the University of Washington in climate modeling with isotope-tracer-enabled general circulation models, which will aid in the interpretation of the data. Another major new aspect is the completion and use of a high-resolution, semi-automated sampling system at the University of Colorado, which will permit the continuous analysis of isotope ratios via laser spectroscopy, at an effective resolution of ~2 cm or less, providing inter-annual time resolution for most of the core. Because continuous flow analyses of stable ice isotopes is a relatively new measurement, we will complement them with parallel measurements, every ~10-20 m, using traditional discrete sampling and analysis by mass spectrometry at the University of Washington. The intellectual merit and the overarching goal of the work are to see Inland WAIS become the reference ice isotope record for West Antarctica. The broader impacts of the work are that the data generated in this project pertain directly to policy-relevant and immediate questions of the stability of the West Antarctic ice sheet, and thus past and future changes in sea level, as well as the nature of climate change in the high southern latitudes. The project will also contribute to the development of modern isotope analysis techniques using laser spectroscopy, with applications well beyond ice cores. The project will involve a graduate student and postdoc who will work with both P.I.s, and spend time at both institutions. Data will be made available rapidly through the Antarctic Glaciological Data Center, for use by other researchers and the public.
1043500/Sowers<br/><br/>This award supports a project to develop a 50 yr resolution methane data set that will play a pivotal role in developing the WAIS Divide timescale as well as providing a common stratigraphic framework for comparing climate records from Greenland and West Antarctica. Even higher resolution data are proposed for key intervals to assist in precisely defining the phasing of abrupt climate change between the hemispheres. Concurrent analysis of a suit of samples from both the WAIS Divide and GISP-2 cores throughout the last 110,000 years is also proposed, to establish the interpolar methan (CH4) gradient that will be used to identify geographic areas responsible for the climate related methane emission changes. The intellectual merit of the proposed work is that it will provide chronological control needed to examine the timing of changes in climate proxies, and critical chronological ties to the Greenland ice core records via methane variations. One main objective is to understand the interpolar timing of millennial-scale climate change. This is an important scientific goal relevant to understanding climate change mechanisms in general. The proposed work will help establish a chronological framework for addressing these issues. In addition, this proposal addresses the question of what methane sources were active during the ice age, through the work on the interpolar methane gradient. This work is directed at the fundamental question of what part of the biosphere controlled past methane variations, and is important for developing more sophisticated understanding of those variations. The broader impacts of the work are that the ultra-high resolution CH4 record will directly benefit all ice core paleoclimate research and the chronological refinements will impact paleoclimate studies that rely on ice core timescales for correlation purposes. The project will support both graduate and undergraduate students and the PIs will participate in outreach to the public.
This award supports a project to broaden the knowledge of annual accumulation patterns over the West Antarctic Ice Sheet by processing existing near-surface radar data taken on the US ITASE traverse in 2000 and by gathering and validating new ultra/super-high-frequency (UHF) radar images of near surface layers (to depths of ~15 m), expanding abilities to monitor recent annual accumulation patterns from point source ice cores to radar lines. Shallow (15 m) ice cores will be collected in conjunction with UHF radar images to confirm that radar echoed returns correspond with annual layers, and/or sub-annual density changes in the near-surface snow, as determined from ice core stable isotopes. This project will additionally improve accumulation monitoring from space-borne instruments by comparing the spatial-radar-derived-annual accumulation time series to the passive microwave time series dating back over 3 decades and covering most of Antarctica. The intellectual merit of this project is that mapping the spatial and temporal variations in accumulation rates over the Antarctic ice sheet is essential for understanding ice sheet responses to climate forcing. Antarctic precipitation rate is projected to increase up to 20% in the coming century from the predicted warming. Accumulation is a key component for determining ice sheet mass balance and, hence, sea level rise, yet our ability to measure annual accumulation variability over the past 5 decades (satellite era) is mostly limited to point-source ice cores. Developing a radar and ice core derived annual accumulation dataset will provide validation data for space-born remote sensing algorithms, climate models and, additionally, establish accumulation trends. The broader impacts of the project are that it will advance discovery and understanding within the climatology, glaciology and remote sensing communities by verifying the use of UHF radars to monitor annual layers as determined by visual, chemical and isotopic analysis from corresponding shallow ice cores and will provide a dataset of annual to near-annual accumulation measurements over the past ~5 decades across WAIS divide from existing radar data and proposed radar data. By determining if temporal changes in the passive microwave signal are correlated with temporal changes in accumulation will help assess the utility of passive microwave remote sensing to monitor accumulation rates over ice sheets for future decades. The project will promote teaching, training and learning, and increase representation of underrepresented groups by becoming involved in the NASA History of Winter project and Thermochron Mission and by providing K-12 teachers with training to monitor snow accumulation and temperature here in the US, linking polar research to the student?s backyard. The project will train both undergraduate and graduate students in polar research and will encouraging young investigators to become involved in careers in science. In particular, two REU students will participate in original research projects as part of this larger project, from development of a hypothesis to presentation and publication of the results. The support of a new, young woman scientist will help to increase gender diversity in polar research.
This award supports a detailed, molecular level characterization of dissolved organic carbon and microbes in Antarctic ice cores. Using the most modern biological (genomic), geochemical techniques, and advanced chemical instrumentation researchers will 1) optimize protocols for collecting, extracting and amplifying DNA from deep ice cores suitable for use in next generation pyrosequencing; 2) determine the microbial diversity within the ice core; and 3) obtain and analyze detailed molecular characterizations of the carbon in the ice by ultrahigh resolution Fourier Transform Ion Cyclotron Resonance Mass Spectrometry (FT-ICR-MS). With this pilot study investigators will be able to quantify the amount of material (microbial biomass and carbon) required to perform these characterizations, which is needed to inform future ice coring projects. The ultimate goal will be to develop protocols that maximize the yield, while minimizing the amount of ice required. The broader impacts include education and outreach at both the local and national levels. As a faculty mentor with the American Indian Research Opportunities and BRIDGES programs at Montana State University, Foreman will serve as a mentor to a Native American student in the lab during the summer months. Susan Kelly is an Education and Outreach Coordinator with a MS degree in Geology and over 10 years of experience in science outreach. She will coordinate efforts for comprehensive educational collaboration with the Hardin School District on the Crow Indian Reservation in South-central Montana.
Aydin/1043780<br/>This award supports the analysis of the trace gas carbonyl sulfide (COS) in a deep ice core from West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide (WAIS-D), Antarctica. COS is the most abundant sulfur gas in the troposphere and a precursor of stratospheric sulfate. It has a large terrestrial COS sink that is tightly coupled to the photosynthetic uptake of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). The primary goal of this project is to develop high a resolution Holocene record of COS from the WAIS-D 06A ice core. The main objectives are 1) to assess the natural variability of COS and the extent to which its atmospheric variability was influenced by climate variability, and 2) to examine the relationship between changes in atmospheric COS and CO2. This project also includes low-resolution sampling and analysis of COS from 10,000-30,000 yrs BP, covering the transition from the Last Glacial Maximum into the early Holocene. The goal of this work is to assess the stability of COS in ice core air over long time scales and to establish the COS levels during the last glacial maximum and the magnitude of the change between glacial and interglacial conditions. The results of this work will be disseminated via peer-review publications and will contribute to environmental assessments such as the WMO Stratospheric Ozone Assessment and IPCC Climate Assessment. This project will support a PhD student and undergraduate researcher in the Department of Earth System Science at the University of California, Irvine, and will create summer research opportunities for undergraduates from non-research active Universities.
1043421/Severinghaus<br/><br/>This award supports a project to obtain samples of ice in selected intervals for replication and verification of the validity and spatial representativeness of key results in the WAIS Divide ice core, and to obtain additional ice samples in areas of intense scientific interest where demand is high. The US Ice Core Working Group recommended in 2003 that NSF pursue the means to take replicate samples, termed "replicate coring". This recommendation was part of an agreement to reduce the diameter of the (then) new drilling system (the DISC drill) core to 12.2 cm to lighten logistics burdens, and the science community accepted the reduction in ice sample with the understanding that replicate coring would be able to provide extra sample volume in key intervals. The WAIS Divide effort would particularly benefit from replicate coring, because of the unique quality of the expected gas record and the large samples needed for gases and gas isotopes; thus this proposal to employ replicate coring at WAIS Divide. In addition, scientific demand for ice samples has been, and will continue to be, very unevenly distributed, with the ice core archive being completely depleted in depth intervals of high scientific interest (abrupt climate changes, volcanic sulfate horizons, meteor impact horizons, for example). The broader impacts of the proposed research may include identification of leads and lags between Greenland, tropical, and Antarctic climate change, enabling critical tests of hypotheses for the mechanism of abrupt climate change. Improved understanding of volcanic impacts on atmospheric chemistry and climate may also emerge. This understanding may ultimately help improve climate models and prediction of the Earth System feedback response to ongoing human perturbation in coming centuries. Outreach and public education about climate change are integral components of the PIs' activities and the proposed work will enhance these efforts. Broader impacts also include education and training of 2 postdoctoral scholars and 1 graduate student, and invaluable field experience for the graduate and undergraduate students who will likely make up the core processing team at WAIS Divide.
This award supports a project to contribute one of the cornerstone analyses, stable isotopes of ice (Delta-D, Delta-O18) to the ongoing West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide (WAIS) deep ice core. The WAIS Divide drilling project, a multi-institution project to obtain a continuous high resolution ice core record from central West Antarctica, reached a depth of 2560 m in early 2010; it is expected to take one or two more field seasons to reach the ice sheet bed (~3300 m), plus an additional four seasons for borehole logging and other activities including proposed replicate coring. The current proposal requests support to complete analyses on the WAIS Divide core to the base, where the age will be ~100,000 years or more. These analyses will form the basis for the investigation of a number of outstanding questions in climate and glaciology during the last glacial period, focused on the dynamics of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and the relationship of West Antarctic climate to that of the Northern polar regions, the tropical Pacific, and the rest of the globe, on time scales ranging from years to tens of thousands of years. One new aspect of this work is the growing expertise at the University of Washington in climate modeling with isotope-tracer-enabled general circulation models, which will aid in the interpretation of the data. Another major new aspect is the completion and use of a high-resolution, semi-automated sampling system at the University of Colorado, which will permit the continuous analysis of isotope ratios via laser spectroscopy, at an effective resolution of ~2 cm or less, providing inter-annual time resolution for most of the core. Because continuous flow analyses of stable ice isotopes is a relatively new measurement, we will complement them with parallel measurements, every ~10-20 m, using traditional discrete sampling and analysis by mass spectrometry at the University of Washington. The intellectual merit and the overarching goal of the work are to see Inland WAIS become the reference ice isotope record for West Antarctica. The broader impacts of the work are that the data generated in this project pertain directly to policy-relevant and immediate questions of the stability of the West Antarctic ice sheet, and thus past and future changes in sea level, as well as the nature of climate change in the high southern latitudes. The project will also contribute to the development of modern isotope analysis techniques using laser spectroscopy, with applications well beyond ice cores. The project will involve a graduate student and postdoc who will work with both P.I.s, and spend time at both institutions. Data will be made available rapidly through the Antarctic Glaciological Data Center, for use by other researchers and the public.
0944199/Matsuoka<br/><br/>This award supports a project to test the hypothesis that abrupt changes in fabric exist and are associated with both climate transitions and volcanic eruptions. It requires depth-continuous measurements of the fabric. By lowering a new logging tool into the WAIS Divide borehole after the completion of the core drilling, this project will measure acoustic-wave speeds as a function of depth and interpret it in terms of ice fabrics. This interpretation will be guided by ice-core-measured fabrics at sparse depths. This project will apply established analytical techniques for the ice-sheet logging and estimate depth profiles of both compressional- and shear-wave speeds at short intervals (~ 1 m). Previous logging projects measured only compressional-wave speeds averaged over typically 5-7 m intervals. Thus the new logger will enable more precise fabric interpretations. Fabric measurements using thin sections have revealed distinct fabric patterns separated by less than several meters; fabric measurements over a shorter period are crucial. At the WAIS Divide borehole, six two-way logging runs will be made with different observational parameters so that multiple wave-propagation modes will be identified, yielding estimates of both compressional- and shear-wave speeds. Each run takes approximately 24 hours to complete; we propose to occupy the boreholes in total eight days. The logging at WAIS Divide is temporarily planned in December 2011, but the timing is not critical. This project?s scope is limited to the completion of the logging and fabric interpretations. Results will be immediately shared with other WAIS Divide researchers. Direct benefits of this data sharing include guiding further thin-section analysis of the fabric, deriving a precise thinning function that retrieves more accurate accumulation history and depth-age scales. The PIs of this project have conducted radar and seismic surveys in this area and this project will provide a ground truth for these regional remote-sensing assessments of the ice interior. In turn, these remote sensing means can extend the results from the borehole to larger parts of the central West Antarctica. This project supports education for two graduate students for geophysics, glaciology, paleoclimate, and polar logistics. The instrument that will be acquired in this project can be used at other boreholes for ice-fabric characterizations and for englacial hydrology (wetness of temperate ice).
This award supports a project to investigate the transformations from snow to firn to ice and the underlying physics controlling firn's ability to store atmospheric samples from the past. Senior researchers, a graduate student, and several undergraduates will make high-resolution measurements of both the diffusivity and permeability profiles of firn cores from several sites in Antarctica and correlate the results with their microstructures quantified using advanced materials characterization techniques (scanning electron microscopy and x-ray computed tomography). The use of cores from different sites will enable us to examine the influence of different local climate conditions on the firn structure. We will use the results to help interpret existing measurements of firn air chemical composition at several sites where firn air measurements exist. There are three closely-linked goals of this project: to quantify the dependence of interstitial transport properties on firn microstructure from the surface down to the pore close-off depth, to determine at what depths bubbles form and entrap air, and investigate the extent to which these features exhibit site-to-site differences, and to use the measurements of firn air composition and firn structure to better quantify the differences between atmospheric composition (present and past), and the air trapped in both the firn and in air bubbles within ice by comparing the results of the proposed work with firn air measurements that have been made at the WAIS Divide and Megadunes sites. The broader impacts of this project are that the study will this study will enable us to elucidate the fundamental controls on the metamorphism of firn microstructure and its impact on processes of gas entrapment that are important to understanding ice core evidence of past atmospheric composition and climate change. The project will form the basis for the graduate research of a PhD student at Dartmouth, with numerous opportunities for undergraduate involvement in cold room measurements and outreach. The investigators have a track record of successfully mentoring women students, and will build on this experience. In conjunction with local earth science teachers, and graduate and undergraduate students will design a teacher-training module on the role of the Polar Regions in climate change. Once developed and tested, this module will be made available to the broader polar research community for their use with teachers in their communities.
This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5).<br/><br/>This award supports a project to use the WAIS Divide deep core to investigate the Last Deglaciation at sub-annual resolution through an integrated set of chemical and biological analyses. The intellectual merit of the project is that these analyses, combined with others, will take advantage of the high snow accumulation WAIS Divide site yielding the highest time resolution glacio-biogeochemical and gas record of any deep Antarctic ice core. With other high resolution Greenland cores (GISP2 and GRIP) and lower resolution Antarctic cores, the combined record will yield new insights into worldwide climate dynamics and abrupt change. The proposed chemical, biological, and elemental tracer measurements will also be used to address all of the WAIS Divide science themes. The broader impacts of the project include education and outreach activities such as numerous presentations to local K-12 students; opportunities for student and teacher involvement in the laboratory work; a teacher training program in Earth sciences in the heavily minority Santa Ana, Compton, and Costa Mesa, California school districts; and development of high school curricula. Extensive graduate and undergraduate student involvement also is planned and will include one post doctoral associate, one graduate student, and undergraduate hourly involvement at DRI; a graduate student and undergraduates at University of California, Irvine (UCI); and a post doctoral fellow at MSU. Student recruitment will be made from underrepresented groups building on a long track record of involvement and will include the NSF funded California Alliance for Minority Participation (CAMP) and the Montana American Indian Research Opportunities (AIRO).<br/><br/>This award does not involve field work in Antarctica.
Cole-Dai/0839066<br/><br/>This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5).<br/><br/>This award supports a project to make continuous major ion analyses in the West Antarctica Ice Sheet Divide (WAIS Divide) ice core by sampling the brittle ice zone (approximately from 500 m to 1500 m). The intellectual merit of the project is that these will likely be the only chemical measurements on the brittle ice zone and, therefore, will bridge the gap in the expected continuous records of climate, ice sheet dynamics and biological evolution based on chemical measurements. High resolution sampling and analysis, probably on selected portions and depth intervals in the brittle ice zone, will help with the independent, high-precision dating of the WAIS Divide core and contribute to the achievement of the major objectives of the WAIS Divide project?development of high resolution climate records with which to investigate issues of climate forcing by greenhouse gases and the role of Antarctica and Southern Hemisphere in the global climate system. Planned collaboration with other WAIS Divide investigators will develop the longest and most detailed volcanic record from Antarctica ice cores. The broader impacts of this project include a contribution to enhancing our knowledge of the climate system. Such improvements in understanding of the global climate system and the ability to predict the magnitude and uncertainty of future changes are highly relevant to the global community. The project will support post-doctoral scientists and graduate students, including those from under-represented groups, will contribute to education, an help to train future scientists and promote diversity in research and education. Public outreach activities of this project will contribute to informal science education of school age children in the Eastern South Dakota region.
This award supports a project to use two new scanning fluorimeters to map microbial concentrations vs depth in the WAIS Divide ice core as portions of it become available at NICL, and selected portions of the GISP2 ice core for inter-hemispheric comparison. Ground-truth calibrations with microbes in ice show that the instruments are sensitive to a single cell and can scan the full length of a 1-meter core at 300-micron intervals in two minutes. The goals of these studies will be to exploit the discovery that microbes are transported onto ice, in clumps, several times per year and that at rare intervals (not periodically) of ~104 years, a much higher flux, sometimes lasting >1 decade, reaches the ice. From variations ranging from seasonal to millennial to glacial scale in the arrival time distribution of phototrophs, methanogens, and total microbes in the Antarctic and Arctic ice, the investigators will attempt to determine oceanic and terrestrial sources of these microbes and will look for correlations of microbial bursts with dust concentration and temperature proxies. In addition the project will follow up on the discovery that the rare instances of very high microbial flux account for some of the"gas artifacts" in ice cores - isolated spikes of excess CH4 and N2O that have been discarded by others in previous climate studies. The intellectual merit of this project is that it will exploit scanning fluorimetry of microbes as a powerful new tool for studies ranging from meteorology to climatology to biology, especially when combined with mapping of dust, gases, and major element chemistry in ice cores. In 2010-11 the WAIS Divide borehole will be logged with the latest version of the dust logger. The log will provide mm-scale depth resolution of dust concentration and of volcanic ash layers down the entire depth of the borehole. The locations of ash layers in the ice will be determined and chemical analyses of the ash will be analyzed in order to determine provenance. By comparing data from the WAIS Divide borehole with data from other boreholes and with chemical data (obtained by others) on volcanic layers, the researchers will examine the relationship between the timing of volcanic eruptions and abrupt climate change. Results from this project with the scanning fluorimeters and the dust logger could have applications to planetary missions, borehole oceanography, limnology, meteorology, climate, volcanology, and ancient life in ice. A deeper understanding of the causes of abrupt climate change, including a causal relationship with volcanic explosivity, would enable a better understanding of the adverse effects on climate. The broader impact of the project is that it will provide training to students and post-docs from the U. S. and other countries.
This award supports a project to perform continuous microparticle concentration and size distribution measurements (using coulter counter and state-of-the-art laser detector methods), analysis of biologically relevant trace elements associated with microparticles (Fe, Zn, Co, Cd, Cu), and tephra measurements on the WAIS Divide ice core. This initial three-year project includes analysis of ice core spanning the instrumental (~1850-present) to mid- Holocene (~5000 years BP) period, with sample resolution ranging from subannual to decadal. The intellectual merit of the project is that it will help in establishing the relationships among climate, atmospheric aerosols from terrestrial and volcanic sources, ocean biogeochemistry, and greenhouse gases on several timescales which remain a fundamental problem in paleoclimatology. The atmospheric mineral dust plays an important but uncertain role in direct radiative forcing, and the microparticle datasets produced in this project will allow us to examine changes in South Pacific aerosol loading, atmospheric dynamics, and dust source area climate. The phasing of changes in aerosol properties within Antarctica, throughout the Southern Hemisphere, and globally is unclear, largely due to the limited number of annually dated records extending into the glacial period and the lack of a<br/>tephra framework to correlate records. The broader impacts of the proposed research are an interdisciplinary approach to climate science problems, and will contribute to several WAIS Divide science themes as well as the broader paleoclimate and oceanographic communities. Because the research topics have a large and direct societal relevance, the project will form a centerpiece of various outreach efforts at UMaine and NMT including institution websites, public speaking, local K-12 school interaction, media interviews and news releases, and popular literature. At least one PhD student and one MS student will be directly supported by this project, including fieldwork, core processing, laboratory analysis, and data interpretation/publication. We expect that one graduate student per year will apply for a core handler/assistant driller position through the WAIS Divide Science Coordination Office, and that undergraduate student involvement will result in several Capstone experience projects (a UMaine graduation requirement). Data and ideas generated from the project will be integrated into undergraduate and graduate course curricula at both institutions.
1043528/Alley<br/><br/>This award supports a project to complete the physical-properties studies of the WAIS Divide deep ice core, now being collected in West Antarctica. Ongoing work funded by NSF, under a grant that is ending, has produced visible stratigraphy dating, inspection of the core for any melt layers, volcanic horizons, flow disturbances or other features, analysis of bubble number-densities allowing reconstruction of a two-millennial cooling trend in the latter Holocene at the site, characterization of other bubble characteristics (size, etc.), density studies, characterization of snow-surface changes at the site, preliminary c-axis studies, and more. The current proposal seeks to complete this work, once the rest of the core is recovered. The intellectual merit of the proposed activity starts with quality assurance for the core, by visual detection of any evidence of flow disturbances that would disrupt the integrity of the climate record. Inspection will also reveal any melt layers, volcanic horizons, etc. Annual-layer dating will be conducted; thus far, the visible strata have not been as useful as some other indicators, but the possibility (based on experience in Greenland) that visible examination will allow detection of thinner annual layers than other techniques motivates the effort. Bubble number-density will be used to reconstruct temperature changes through the rest of the bubbly part of the core, providing important paleoclimatic data for earlier parts of the Holocene. Coordinated interpretation of c-axis fabrics, grain sizes and shapes, and bubble characteristics will be used to learn about the history of ice flow, the processes of ice flow, and the softness of the ice for additional deformation. Analysis of surface data already collected will improve interpretation of the layering of the core. It is possible that the annual-layer dating will not be sufficiently successful, and that the core will be undisturbed with no melt layers; if so, then these efforts will not yield major publications. However, success of the other efforts should produce improved understanding of the history and stability of the ice sheet, and key processes controlling these, and the quality assurance provided by the visual examination is important for the project as a whole. The broader impacts of the proposed activity include education of a PhD student and multiple undergraduates, and research opportunities for a junior faculty member at an undergraduate institution. The proposed activity will help support an especially vigorous education and outreach effort providing undergraduate instruction for over 1000 students per year, reaching thousands more citizens and many policymakers, and preparing educational materials used at many levels.
Brook 0739766<br/><br/>This award supports a project to create a 25,000-year high-resolution record of atmospheric CO2 from the WAIS Divide ice core. The site has high ice accumulation rate, relatively cold temperatures, and annual layering that should be preserved back to 40,000 years, all prerequisite for preserving a high quality, well-dated CO2 record. The new record will be used to examine relationships between Antarctic climate, Northern Hemisphere climate, and atmospheric CO2 on glacial-interglacial to centennial time scales, at unprecedented temporal resolution. The intellectual merit of the proposed work is simply that CO2 is the most important greenhouse gas that humans directly impact, and understanding the sources, sinks, and controls of atmospheric CO2 is a major goal for the global scientific community. Accurate chronology and detailed records are primary requirements for developing and testing models that explain and predict CO2 variability. The proposed work has several broader impacts. It contributes to the training of a post-doctoral researcher, who will transfer to a research faculty position during the award period and who will participate in graduate teaching and guest lecture in undergraduate courses. An undergraduate researcher will gain valuable lab training and conduct independent research. Bringing the results of<br/>the proposed work to the classroom will enrich courses taught by the PI. Outreach efforts will expose pre-college students to ice core research. The proposed work will enhance the laboratory facilities for ice core research at OSU, insuring that the capability for CO2 measurements exists for future projects. All data will be archived at the National Snow and Ice Data Center and other similar archives, per OPP policy. Highly significant results will be disseminated to the news media through OSU?s very effective News and Communications group. Carbon dioxide is the most important greenhouse gas that humans are directly changing. Understanding how CO2 and climate are linked on all time scales is necessary for predicting the future behavior of the carbon cycle and climate system, primarily to insure that the appropriate processes are represented in carbon cycle/climate models. Part of the proposed work emphasizes the relationship of CO2 and abrupt climate change. Understanding how future abrupt change might impact the carbon cycle is an important issue for society.
Sowers/Brook<br/>0538538<br/>This award supports a project to develop a high-resolution (every 50 yr) methane data set that will play a pivotal role in developing the timescale for the new deep ice core being drilled at the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide (WAIS Divde) site as well as providing a common stratigraphic framework for comparing climate records from Greenland and WAIS Divide. Certain key intervals will be measured at even higher resolution to assist in precisely defining the phasing of abrupt climate change between the northern and southern hemispheres. Concurrent analysis of a suit of samples from both the WAIS Divide and GISP2 ice cores throughout the last 110kyr is also proposed, to establish the inter-hemispheric methane gradient which will be used to identify geographic areas responsible for the climate-related methane emission changes. A large gas measurement inter-calibration of numerous laboratories, utilizing both compressed air cylinders and WAIS Divide ice core samples, will also be performed. The intellectual merit of the proposed work is that it will provide the chronological control needed to examine the timing of changes in climate proxies, and critical chronological ties to the Greenland ice core records via methane variations. In addition, the project addresses the question of what methane sources were active during the ice age and will help to answer the fundamental question of what part of the biosphere controlled past methane variations. The broader impact of the proposed work is that it will directly benefit all ice core paleoclimate research and will impact the paleoclimate studies that rely on ice core timescales for correlation purposes. The project will also support a Ph.D. student at Oregon State University who will have the opportunity to be involved in a major new ice coring effort with international elements. Undergraduates at Penn State will gain valuable laboratory experience and participate fully in the project. The proposed work will underpin the WAIS Divide chronology, which will be fundamental to all graduate student projects that involve the core. The international inter-calibration effort will strengthen ties between research institutions on four continents and will be conducted as part of the International Polar Year research agenda.
This award supports a project to understand how recent changes in atmospheric chemistry, and historical changes as recorded in snow, firn and ice, have affected atmospheric photochemistry over Antarctica. Atmospheric, snow and firn core measurements of selected gas, meteorological and snow physical properties will be made and modeling of snow-atmosphere exchange will be carried out. The intellectual merit of the project is that it will lead to a better an understanding of the atmospheric chemistry in West Antarctica, its bi-directional linkages with the snowpack, and how it responds to regional influences. There are at least four broader impacts of this work. First is education of university students at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. One postdoctoral researcher and one graduate student will carry out much of the work, and a number of undergraduates will be involved. Second, involvement with the WAIS-Divide coring program will be used to help recruit under-represented groups as UC Merced students. As part of UC Merced's outreach efforts in the San Joaquin Valley, whose students are under-represented in the UC system, the PI and co-PI give short research talks to groups of prospective students, community college and high school educators and other groups. They will develop one such talk highlighting this project. Including high-profile research in these recruiting talks has proven to be an effective way to promote dialog, and interest students in UC Merced. Third, talks such as this also contribute to the scientific literacy of the general public. The PI and grad student will all seek opportunities to share project information with K-14 and community audiences. Fourth, results of the research will be disseminated broadly to the scientific community, and the researchers will seek additional applications for the transfer functions as tools to improve interpretation of ice-cores. This research is highly collaborative, and leverages the expertise and data from a number of other groups.
Edwards/0739780<br/><br/>This award supports a project to develop a 2,000-year high-temporal resolution record of biomass burning from the analysis of black carbon in the WAIS Divide bedrock ice core. Pilot data for the WAIS WD05A core demonstrates that we now have the ability to reconstruct this record with minimal impact on the amount of ice available for other projects. The intellectual merit of this project is that black carbon (BC) aerosols result solely from combustion and play a critical but poorly quantified role in global climate forcing and the carbon cycle. When incorporated into snow and ice, BC increases absorption of solar radiation making seasonal snow packs, mountain glaciers, polar ice sheets, and sea ice much more vulnerable to climate warming. BC emissions in the Southern Hemisphere are dominated by biomass burning in the tropical regions of Southern Africa, South America and South Asia. Biomass burning, which results from both climate and human activities, alters the atmospheric composition of greenhouse gases, aerosols and perturbs key biogeochemical cycles. A long-term record of biomass burning is needed to aid in the interpretation of ice core gas composition and will provide important information regarding human impacts on the environment and climate before instrumental records. The broader impacts of the project are that it represents a paradigm shift in our ability to reconstruct the history of fire from ice core records and to understand its impact on atmospheric chemistry and climate over millennial time scales. This type of data is especially needed to drive global circulation model simulations of black carbon aerosols, which have been found to be an important component of global warming and which may be perturbing the hydrologic cycle. The project will also employ undergraduate students and is committed to attracting underrepresented groups to the physical sciences. The project?s outreach component will be conducted as part of the WAIS project outreach program and will reach a wide audience.
Cole-Dai<br/>0538553<br/><br/>This award supports a project that will contribute to the US West Antarctica Ice Sheet Ice Divide ice core (WAIS Divide) project by developing new instrumentation and analytical procedures to measure concentrations of major ions (Cl-, NO3-, SO42-, Na+, K+, NH4+, Mg2+, Ca2+). A melter-based, continuous flow, multi-ion-chromatograph technique (CFA-IC) has been developed recently at South Dakota State University (SDSU). This project will further expand and improve the CFA-IC technique and instrumentation and develop procedures for routine analysis of major ions in ice cores. In addition, training of personnel (operators) to perform continuous, high resolution major ion analysis of the deep core will be accomplished through this project. The temporal resolution of the major ion measurement will be as low as 0.5 cm with the fully developed CFA-IC technique. At this resolution, it will be possible to use annual cycles of sulfate and sea-salt ion concentrations to determine annual layers in the WAIS Divide ice core. Annual layer counting using CFA-IC chemical measurements and other high resolution measurements will contribute significantly to the major WAIS Divide project objective of producing precisely (i.e., annually) dated climate records. The project will support the integration of research and education, train future scientists and promote human resource development through the participation of graduate and undergraduate students. In particular, undergraduate participation will contribute to a current REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) chemistry site program at SDSU. Development and utilization of multi-user instrumentation will promote research collaboration and advance environmental science. NSF support for SDSU will contribute to the economic development and strengthen the infrastructure for research and education in South Dakota.
0538657<br/>Severinghaus<br/>This award supports a project to develop high-resolution (20-yr) nitrogen and oxygen isotope records on trapped gases in the WAIS Divide ice core (Antarctica), with a comparison record for chronological purposes in the GISP2 (Greenland) ice core. The main scientific objective is to provide an independent temperature-change record for the past 100,000 years in West Antarctica that is not subject to the uncertainty inherent in ice isotopes (18O and deuterium), the classical paleothermometer. Nitrogen isotopes (Delta 15N) in air bubbles in glacial ice record rapid surface temperature change because of thermal fractionation of air in the porous firn layer, and this isotopic anomaly is recorded in bubbles as the firn becomes ice. Using this gas-based temperature-change record, in combination with methane data as interpolar stratigraphic markers, the proposed work will define the precise relative timing of abrupt warming in Greenland and abrupt cooling at the WAIS Divide site during the millennial-scale climatic oscillations of Marine Isotopic Stage 3 (30-70 kyr BP) and the last glacial termination. The nitrogen isotope record also provides constraints on past firn thickness, which inform temperature and accumulation rate histories from the ice core. A search for possible solar-related cycles will be conducted with the WAIS Divide Holocene (Delta 15N.) Oxygen isotopes of O2 (Delta 18Oatm) are obtained as a byproduct of the (Delta 15N) measurement. The gas-isotopic records will enhance the value of other atmospheric gas measurements in WAIS Divide, which are expected to be of unprecedented quality. The high-resolution (Delta 18Oatm) records will provide chronological control for use by the international ice coring community and for surface glacier ice dating. Education of a graduate student, and training of a staff member in the laboratory, will contribute to the nation's human resource base. Outreach activities in the context of the International Polar Year will be enhanced. International collaboration is planned with the laboratory of LSCE, University of Paris.
Caffee/0839042 <br/><br/>This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5).<br/><br/>This award supports a project to measure the concentration of the cosmogenic radionuclide, Beryllium-10 in the deep WAIS divide ice core. Since cosmogenic radionuclides are one of the key parameters used for absolute dating of the ice core and deriving paleoaccumulation rates, it is essential that these measurements be made quickly and efficiently, and that the information is disseminated as soon as the results are available. The intellectual merit of the project is that it will allow a comparison to be made between the core from WAIS Divide and previously measured cosmogenic radionuclide records from Arctic ice cores, particularly GISP2 and GRIP This project will enable scientists to delineate those processes acting at a local level from those that produce global effects and will provide independent chronological markers to aid in the reconstruction of the WAIS Divide ice core chronology. The cosmogenic 10Be profile can also be used to investigate the possible role of solar activity on climate. The direct comparison of radionuclide concentrations with paleoclimate records in ice cores from different sites will provide more insight in the timing and magnitude of solar forcing of climate. The broader impacts of this project include: (i) the formation of a multi-disciplinary team of collaborators for the interpretation of future analyses of cosmogenic radionuclide data from the WAIS divide and other ice cores. (ii) the involvement and training of graduate and undergraduate students in the large scale project of climate research through detailed studies of ice samples. (iii) the opportunity to highlight to a wide range of lab visitors and students from local K-12 schools the importance of ice core and climate change studies.<br/><br/>This award does not involve field work in Antarctica.
This award supports an investigation of spatial variations of ice temperature and subglacial conditions using available ice-penetrating radar data around a future deep ice coring site near the Ross and Amundsen flow divide of West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Besides geometry of reflection layers the focus will be on intensities of radar echoes from within ice deeper than several hundred meters and will also examine echoes from the bed. Preliminary studies on theory and comparison with Japanese radar data from East Antarctica suggest that large spatial variations of the vertical gradient of radar echoes from within ice exist and are caused primarily by ice temperature and secondarily by crystal-orientation fabric. The hypothesis that the vertical gradient is a proxy of ice temperature will be tested. The project will utilize an existing data set from the Support Office for Aerogeophysical Research in Antarctica (SOAR) and will complement work already underway at University of Texas to analyze the radar data. The project will provide undergraduate research experience with an emphasis on computer analysis of time series and large data sets as well as development of web-based resource of results and methods and will support an international collaboration between US and Japan through discussions on the preliminary results from their study sites. Practical procedures developed through this study will be downloadable from the project's web site in the third year and will allow investigation of other ice sheets using existing radar data sets. This project will contribute to the interpretation of the future inland West Antarctic ice core and will help in the understanding of ice sheet history and climate change.
This award supports development of a new modeling approach that will extract information about past snow accumulation rate in both space and time in the vicinity of the future ice core near the Ross-Amundsen divide of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). Internal layers, detected by ice-penetrating radar, are isochrones, or former ice-sheet surfaces that have been buried by subsequent snowfall, and distorted by ice flow. Extensive ice-penetrating radar data are available over the inland portion of the WAIS. Layers have been dated back to 17,000 years before present. The radar data add the spatial dimension to the temporally resolved accumulation record from ice cores. Accumulation rates are traditionally derived from the depths of young, shallow layers, corrected for strain using a local 1-D ice-flow model. Older, deeper layers have been more affected by flow over large horizontal distances. However, it is these deeper layers that contain information on longer-term climate patterns. This project will use geophysical inverse theory and a 2.5D flow-band ice-flow forward model comprising ice-surface and layer-evolution modules, to extract robust transient accumulation patterns by assimilating multiple deeper, more-deformed layers that have previously been intractable. Histories of divide migration, geothermal flux, and surface evolution will also be produced. The grant will support the PhD research of a female graduate student who is a mentor to female socio-economically disadvantaged high-school students interested in science, through the University of Washington Women's Center. It will also provide a research<br/>experience for an undergraduate student, and contribute to a freshman seminar on Scientific Research.
This award supports the coordination of an interdisciplinary and multi institutional deep ice coring program in West Antarctica. The program will develop interrelated climate, ice dynamics, and biologic records focused on understanding interactions of global earth systems. The records will have a year-by-year chronology for the most recent 40,000 years. Lower temporal resolution records will extend to 100,000 years before present. The intellectual activity of this project includes enhancing our understanding of the natural mechanisms that cause climate change. The study site was selected to obtain the best possible material, available from anywhere, to determine the role of greenhouse gas in the last series of major climate changes. The project will study the how natural changes in greenhouse gas concentrations influence climate. The influence of sea ice and atmospheric circulation on climate changes will also be investigated. Other topics that will be investigated include the influence of the West Antarctic ice sheet on changes in sea level and the biology deep in the ice sheet. The broader impacts of this project include developing information required by other science communities to improve predictions of future climate change. The <br/>project will use mass media to explain climate, glaciology, and biology issues to a broad audience. The next generation of ice core investigators will be trained and there will be an emphasis on exposing a diverse group of students to climate, glaciology and biology research.
This award supports a project to measure the elemental and isotopic composition of firn air and occluded air in shallow boreholes and ice cores from the WAIS Divide site, the location of a deep ice-coring program planned for 2006-07 and subsequent seasons. The three primary objectives are: 1) to establish the nature of firn air movement and trapping at the site to aid interpretations of gas data from the deep core; 2) to expand the suite of atmospheric trace gas species that can be measured in ice and replicate existing records of other species; and 3) to inter-calibrate all collaborating labs to insure that compositional and isotopic data sets are inter-comparable. The program will be initiated with a shallow drilling program during the 05/06 field season which will recover two 300+m cores and firn air samples. The ice core and firn air will provide more than 700 years of atmospheric history that will be used to address a number of important questions related to atmospheric change over this time period. The research team consists of six US laboratories that also plan to participate in the deep core program. This collaborative research program has a number of advantages. First, the scientists will be able to coordinate sample allocation a priori to maximize the resolution and overlap of records of interrelated species. Second, sample registration will be exact, allowing direct comparison of all records. Third, a coherent data set will be produced at the same time and all PI.s will participate in interpreting and publishing the results. This will insure that the best possible understanding of gas records at the WAIS Divide site will be achieved, and that all work necessary to interpret the deep core is conducted in a timely fashion. The collaborative structure created by the proposal will encourage sharing of techniques, equipment, and ideas between the laboratories. The research will identify impacts of various industrial/agricultural activities and help to distinguish them from natural variations, and will include species for which there are no long records of anthropogenic impact. The work will also help to predict future atmospheric loadings. The project will contribute to training scientists at several levels, including seven undergraduates, two graduate students and one post doctoral fellow.