This project will develop a record of the stable-isotope ratios of water from an ice core at the South Pole, Antarctica. Water-isotope ratio measurements provide a means to determine variability in temperature through time. South Pole is distinct from most other locations in Antarctica in showing no warming in recent decades, but little is known about temperature variability in this location prior to the installation of weather stations in 1957. The measurements made as part of this project will result in a much longer temperature record, extending at least 40,000 years, aiding our ability to understand what controls Antarctic climate, and improving projections of future Antarctic climate change. Data from this project will be critical to other investigators working on the South Pole ice core, and of general interest to other scientists and the public. Data will be provided rapidly to other investigators and made public as soon as possible.<br/><br/>This project will obtain records of the stable-isotope ratios of water on the ice core currently being obtained at South Pole. The core will reach a depth of 1500 m and an age of 40,000 years. The project will use laser spectroscopy to obtain both an ultra-high-resolution record of oxygen 18/16 and deuterium-hydrogen ratios, and a lower-resolution record of oxygen 17/16 ratios. The high-resolution measurements will be used to aid in dating the core, and to provide estimates of isotope diffusion that constrain the process of firn densification. The novel 17/16 measurement provides additional constraints on the isotope fractionation due to the temperature-dependent supersaturation ratio, which affects the fractionation of water during the liquid-solid condensate transition. Together, these techniques will allow for improved accuracy in the use of the water isotope ratios as proxies for ice-sheet temperature, sea-surface temperature, and atmospheric circulation. The result will be a record of decadal through centennial and millennial scale climate change in a climatically distinct region in East Antarctica that has not been previously sampled by deep ice coring. The project will support a graduate student who will be co-advised by faculty at the University of Washington and the University of Colorado, and will be involved in all aspects of the work.
The temperature of the earth is controlled, in part, by heat trapping gases that include carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. Despite their importance to climate, direct measurements of these gases in the atmosphere are limited to the last 50 years at best. Air trapped in ice cores extends those data back hundreds of millennia, and measurements of greenhouse gases in ice cores underpin much of our understanding of global chemical cycles relevant to modern climate change. Existing records vary in quality and detail. The proposed work fills gaps in our knowledge of nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide over the last 10,000 years. New measurements from an ice core from the South Pole will be used to determine what role changes in ocean and land based processes played in controlling these gases, which decreased during the first 2,000 years of this time period, then gradually increased toward the present. The work will address a major controversy over whether early human activities could have impacted the atmosphere, and provide data to improve mathematical models of the land-ocean-atmosphere system that predict how future climate change will impact the composition of the atmosphere and climate. <br/><br/>For nitrous oxide the work will improve on existing concentration records It will also develop measurement of the isotopomers of nitrous oxide and explore their utility for understanding aspects of the Holocene nitrous oxide budget. The primary goal is to determine if marine and/or terrestrial emissions of nitrous oxide change in response to changes in Holocene climate. A new Holocene isotopic record for carbon dioxide (stable carbon and oxygen isotopes), will improve the precision of existing records by a factor 5 and increase the temporal resolution. These data will be used to evaluate controversial hypotheses about why carbon dioxide concentrations changed in the Holocene and provide insight into millennial scale processes in the carbon cycle, which are not resolved by current isotopic data. A graduate student and post doc will receive advanced training during and the student and principle investigator will conduct outreach efforts targeted at local middle school students. The proposed work will also contribute to teaching efforts by the PI and to public lectures on climate and climate change. The results will be disseminated through publications, data archive, and the OSU Ice Core Lab web site. New analytical methods of wide utility will also be developed and documented.
Abstract<br/>During the Early Pliocene, 4.8 to 3.4 million years ago, warmer-than-present global temperatures resulted in a retreat of the Ross Ice Shelf and West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Understanding changes in ocean dynamics during times of reduced ice volume and increased temperatures in the geologic past will improve the predictive models for these conditions. The primary goal of the proposed research is to develop a new oxygen isotope record of Pliocene oceanographic conditions near the Antarctic continent. Oxygen isotope values from the carbonate tests of benthic foraminifera have become the global standard for paleo-oceanographic studies, but foraminifera are sparse in high-latitude sediment cores. This research will instead make use of oxygen isotope measurements from diatom silica preserved in a marine sediment core from the Ross Sea. The project is the first attempt at using this method and will advance understanding of global ocean dynamics and ice sheet-ocean interactions during the Pliocene. The project will foster the professional development of two early-career scientists and serve as training for graduate and undergraduate student researchers. The PIs will use this project to introduce High School students to polar/oceanographic research, as well as stable isotope geochemistry. Collaboration with teachers via NSTA and Polar Educators International will ensure the implementation of excellent STEM learning activities and curricula for younger students. <br/><br/>Technical Description<br/>This project will produce a high-resolution oxygen isotope record from well-dated diatom rich sediments that have been cross-correlated with global benthic foraminifera oxygen isotope records. Diatom silica frustules deposited during the Early Pliocene and recovered by the ANDRILL Project (AND-1B) provide ideal material for this objective. Diatomite unites in the AND-1B core are nearly pure, with little evidence of opal formation. A diatom oxygen isotope record from this core offers the potential to constrain lingering uncertainties about Ross Sea and Southern Ocean paleoceanography and Antarctic Ice Sheet history during a time of high atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. Specifically, oxygen isotope variations will be used to constrain changes in the water temperature and/or freshwater flux in the Pliocene Ross Sea. Diatom species data from the AND-1B core have been used to infer variations in the extent and duration of seasonal sea ice coverage, sea surface temperatures, and mid-water advection onto the continental shelf. However, the diatom oxygen isotope record will provide the first direct measure of water/oxygen isotope values at the Antarctic continental margin during the Pliocene.
In order to understand what environmental conditions might look like for future generations, we need to turn to archives of past times when the world was indeed warmer, before anyone was around to commit them to collective memory. The geologic record of Earth's past offers a glimpse of what could be in store for the future. Research by Ivany and her team looks to Antarctica during a time of past global warmth to see how seasonality of temperature and rainfall in coastal settings are likely to change in the future. They will use the chemistry of fossils (a natural archive of these variables) to test a provocative hypothesis about near-monsoonal conditions in the high latitudes when the oceans are warm. If true, we can expect high-latitude shipping lanes to become more hazardous and fragile marine ecosystems adapted to constant cold temperatures to suffer. With growing information about how human activities are likely to affect the planet in the future, we will be able to make more informed decisions about policies today. This research involves an international team of scholars, including several women scientists, training of graduate students, and a public museum exhibit to educate children about how we study Earth's ancient climate and what we can learn from it.<br/><br/>Antarctica is key to an understanding how Earth?s climate system works under conditions of elevated CO2. The poles are the most sensitive regions on the planet to climate change, and the equator-to-pole temperature gradient and the degree to which high-latitude warming is amplified are important components for climate models to capture. Accurate proxy data with good age control are therefore critical for testing numerical models and establishing global patterns. The La Meseta Formation on Seymour Island is the only documented marine section from the globally warm Eocene Epoch exposed in outcrop on the continent; hence its climate record is integral to studies of warming. Early data suggest the potential for strongly seasonal precipitation and runoff in coastal settings. This collaboration among paleontologists, geochemists, and climate modelers will test this using seasonally resolved del-18O data from fossil shallow marine bivalves to track the evolution of seasonality through the section, in combination with independent proxies for the composition of summer precipitation (leaf wax del-D) and local seawater (clumped isotopes). The impact of the anticipated salinity stratification on regional climate will be evaluated in the context of numerical climate model simulations. In addition to providing greater clarity on high-latitude conditions during this time of high CO2, the combination of proxy and model results will provide insights about how Eocene warmth may have been maintained and how subsequent cooling came about. As well, a new approach to the analysis of shell carbonates for 87Sr/86Sr will allow refinements in age control so as to allow correlation of this important section with other regions to clarify global climate gradients. The project outlined here will develop new and detailed paleoclimate records from existing samples using well-tuned as well as newer proxies applied here in novel ways. Seasonal extremes are climate parameters generally inaccessible to most studies but critical to an understanding of climate change; these are possible to resolve in this well-preserved, accretionary-macrofossil-bearing section. This is an integrated study that links marine and terrestrial climate records for a key region of the planet across the most significant climate transition in the Cenozoic.
Gases trapped in ice cores have revealed astonishing things about the greenhouse gas composition of the past atmosphere, including the fact that carbon dioxide concentrations never rose above 300 parts per million during the last 800,000 years. This places today's concentration of 400 parts per million in stark contrast. Furthermore, these gas records show that natural sources of greenhouse gas such as oceans and ecosystems act as amplifiers of climate change by increasing emissions of gases during warmer periods. Such amplification is expected to occur in the future, adding to the human-produced gas burden. The South Pole ice core will build upon these prior findings by expanding the suite of gases to include, for the first time, those potent trace gases that both trapped heat and depleted ozone during the past 40,000 years. The present project on inert gases and methane in the South Pole ice core will improve the dating of this crucial record, to unprecedented precision, so that the relative timing of events can be used to learn about the mechanism of trace gas production and destruction, and consequent climate change amplification. Ultimately, this information will inform predictions of future atmospheric chemical cleansing mechanisms and climate in the context of our rapidly changing atmosphere. This award also engages young people in the excitement of discovery and polar research, helping to entrain the next generations of scientists and educators. Education of graduate students, a young researcher (Buizert), and training of technicians, will add to the nation?s human resource base. <br/> <br/>This award funds the construction of the gas chronology for the South Pole 1500m ice core, using measured inert gases (d15N and d40Ar--Nitrogen and Argon isotope ratios, respectively) and methane in combination with a next-generation firn densification model that treats the stochastic nature of air trapping and the role of impurities on densification. The project addresses fundamental gaps in scientific understanding that limit the accuracy of gas chronologies, specifically a poor knowledge of the controls on ice-core d15N and the possible role of layering and impurities in firn densification. These gaps will be addressed by studying the gas enclosure process in modern firn at the deep core site. The work will comprise the first-ever firn air pumping experiment that has tightly co-located measurements of firn structural properties on the core taken from the same borehole.<br/><br/>The project will test the hypothesis that the lock-in horizon as defined by firn air d15N, CO2, and methane is structurally controlled by impermeable layers, which are in turn created by high-impurity content horizons in which densification is enhanced. Thermal signals will be sought using the inert gas measurements, which improve the temperature record with benefits to the firn densification modeling. Neon, argon, and oxygen will be measured in firn air and a limited number of deep core samples to test whether glacial period layering was enhanced, which could explain low observed d15N in the last glacial period. Drawing on separate volcanic and methane synchronization to well-dated ice cores to create independent ice and gas tie points, independent empirical estimates of the gas age-ice age difference will be made to check the validity of the firn densification model-inert gas approach to calculating the gas age-ice age difference. These points will also be used to test whether the anomalously low d15N seen during the last glacial period in east Antarctic ice cores is due to deep air convection in the firn, or a missing impurity dependence in the firn densification models. <br/><br/>The increased physical understanding gained from these studies, combined with new high-precision measurements, will lead to improved accuracy of the gas chronology of the South Pole ice core, which will enhance the overall science return from this gas-oriented core. This will lead to clarification of timing of atmospheric gas variations and temperature, and aid in efforts to understand the biogeochemical feedbacks among trace gases. These feedbacks bear on the future response of the Earth System to anthropogenic forcing. Ozone-depleting substances will be measured in the South Pole ice core record, and a precise gas chronology will add value. Lastly, by seeking a better understanding of the physics of gas entrapment, the project aims to have an impact on ice-core science in general.
Intellectual Merit: <br/>This research will investigate how Antarctic peatbanks have responded to documented past warm climates on the Western Antarctic Peninsula over the last 1000 years. The work will extend understanding of climate controls on peat carbon accumulation to Antarctic peatbanks thus enabling a bi-polar perspective of ?first responder? ecosystem processes under warmer climate conditions. Understanding climate and ecosystem histories will help reveal processes and mechanisms that control the functioning of these and other polar ecosystems. Specifically, the investigators will evaluate outcomes of ?natural climate-warming experiments? that have occurred in the AP region at 65 degrees south over the last 1000 years. They will focus on two warm climate intervals in the Western Antarctic Peninsula: (1) the recent and ongoing warming of up to 6Â°C in the last century, and (2) the Medieval Warm Period that occurred ~800 years ago. By collecting and analyzing peat cores and other biological and environmental data, the investigators will derive an independent temperature reconstruction from oxygen isotopes of moss cellulose over the last 1000 years to assess peatbank carbon response to documented warm climate conditions. The overall goal of the proposed project is to document formation ages and temporal changes in carbon-accumulating ecosystems over the last millennium in response to climate change as reconstructed from independent proxies. Also, their data will allow the investigators to understand the nature of reconstructed climate change in relation to atmosphere circulation and ocean conditions. <br/><br/>Broader impacts: <br/>This research is directly relevant to understanding polar processes affecting soil carbon dynamics and will support an early career researcher. This project will provide training for undergraduate students, graduate student and a postdoctoral fellow and will develop teaching modules and outreach activities on polar climate and ecosystem changes.
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.
This award supports a project to use the Taylor Glacier, Antarctica, ablation zone to collect ice samples for a range of paleoenvironmental studies. A record of carbon-14 of atmospheric methane (14CH4) will be obtained for the last deglaciation and the Early Holocene, together with a supporting record of CH4 stable isotopes. In-situ cosmogenic 14C content and partitioning of 14C between different species (14CH4, C-14 carbon monoxide (14CO) and C-14 carbon dioxide (14CO2)) will be determined with unprecedented precision in ice from the surface down to ~67 m. Further age-mapping of the ablating ice stratigraphy will take place using a combination of CH4, CO2, δ18O of oxygen gas and H2O stable isotopes. High precision, high-resolution records of CO2, δ13C of CO2, nitrous oxide (N2O) and N2O isotopes will be obtained for the last deglaciation and intervals during the last glacial period. The potential of 14CO2 and Krypton-81 (81Kr) as absolute dating tools for glacial ice will be investigated. The intellectual merit of proposed work includes the fact that the response of natural methane sources to continuing global warming is uncertain, and available evidence is insufficient to rule out the possibility of catastrophic releases from large 14C-depleted reservoirs such as CH4 clathrates and permafrost. The proposed paleoatmospheric 14CH4 record will improve our understanding of the possible magnitude and timing of CH4 release from these reservoirs during a large climatic warming. A thorough understanding of in-situ cosmogenic 14C in glacial ice (production rates by different mechanisms and partitioning between species) is currently lacking. Such an understanding will likely enable the use of in-situ 14CO in ice at accumulation sites as a reliable, uncomplicated tracer of the past cosmic ray flux and possibly past solar activity, as well as the use of 14CO2 at both ice accumulation and ice ablation sites as an absolute dating tool. Significant gaps remain in our understanding of the natural carbon cycle, as well as in its responses to global climate change. The proposed high-resolution, high-precision records of δ13C of CO2 would provide new information on carbon cycle changes both during times of rising CO2 in a warming climate and falling CO2 in a cooling climate. N2O is an important greenhouse gas that increased by ~30% during the last deglaciation. The causes of this increase are still largely uncertain, and the proposed high-precision record of N2O concentration and isotopes would provide further insights into N2O source changes in a warming world. The broader impacts of proposed work include an improvement in our understanding of the response of these greenhouse gas budgets to global warming and inform societally important model projections of future climate change. The continued age-mapping of Taylor Glacier ablation ice will add value to this high-quality, easily accessible archive of natural environmental variability. Establishing 14CO as a robust new tracer for past cosmic ray flux would inform paleoclimate studies and constitute a valuable contribution to the study of the societally important issue of climate change. The proposed work will contribute to the development of new laboratory and field analytical systems. The data from the study will be made available to the scientific community and the broad public through the NSIDC and NOAA Paleoclimatology data centers. 1 graduate student each will be trained at UR, OSU and SIO, and the work will contribute to the training of a postdoc at OSU. 3 UR undergraduates will be involved in fieldwork and research. The work will support a new, junior UR faculty member, Petrenko. All PIs have a strong history of and commitment to scientific outreach in the forms of media interviews, participation in filming of field projects, as well as speaking to schools and the public about their research, and will continue these activities as part of the proposed work. This award has field work in Antarctica.
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.
Major portions of the Antarctic Ice Sheet float in the surrounding ocean, at the physical and intellectual boundaries of oceanography and glaciology. These ice shelves lose mass continuously by melting into the sea, and periodically by the calving of icebergs. Those losses are compensated by the outflow of grounded ice, and by surface accumulation and basal freezing. Ice shelf sources and sinks vary on several time scales, but their wastage terms are not yet well known. Reports of substantial ice shelf retreat, regional ocean freshening and increased ice velocity and thinning are of particular concern at a time of warming ocean temperatures in waters that have access to deep glacier grounding lines.<br/>This award supports a study of the attrition of Antarctic ice shelves, using recent ocean geochemical measurements and drawing on numerical modeling and remote sensing resources. In cooperation with associates at Columbia University and the British Antarctic Survey, measurements of chlorofluorocarbon, helium, neon and oxygen isotopes will be used to infer basal melting beneath the Ross Ice Shelf, and a combination of oceanographic and altimeter data will be used to investigate the mass balance of George VI Ice Shelf. Ocean and remote sensing observations will also be used to help refine numerical models of ice cavity circulations. The objectives are to reduce uncertainties between different estimates of basal melting and freezing, evaluate regional variability, and provide an update of an earlier assessment of circumpolar net melting.<br/>A better knowledge of ice shelf attrition is essential to an improved understanding of ice shelf response to climate change. Large ice shelf calving events can alter the ocean circulation and sea ice formation, and can lead to logistics problems such as those recently experienced in the Ross Sea. Broader impacts include the role of ice shelf meltwater in freshening and stabilizing the upper ocean, and in the formation of Antarctic Bottom Water, which can be traced far into the North Atlantic. To the extent that ice shelf attrition influences the flow of grounded ice, this work also has implications for ice sheet stability and sea level rise.
This award supports a detailed laboratory analysis of the mass-independent isotopic composition of processes associated with atmospheric nitrate trapped in the snow pack at the South Pole. The project will specifically test if the oxygen isotopes 16O, 17O, 18O of nitrate can be used to probe the denitrification of the Antarctic stratosphere. Despite decades of research, there are several important issues in Antarctic atmospheric science, which are presently inadequately resolved. This includes quantification over time of the sources of nitrate aerosols. Today, little is known about the past denitrification of the stratosphere in high latitude regions. This lack of knowledge significantly limits our ability to understand the chemical state of ancient atmospheres and therefore evaluate present and past-coupled climate/atmosphere models. The role of nitrogen in environmental degradation is well known. This issue will also be addressed in this proposal. Atmospheric aerosols have now been shown to possess a mass-independent oxygen isotopic content. The proposed research will investigate the stable oxygen isotope ratios of nitrate in Antarctica both collected in real time and from the snow. Two periods of time will be covered. Full year nitrate aerosol collections, with week resolution time horizons, will be performed at the South Pole. Weekly aerosol collections will help us to identify any seasonal trend of the oxygen-17 excess anomaly, and eventually link this anomaly to the denitrification of the Antarctic stratosphere. This data set will also be used to test our assumption that the oxygen isotopic anomaly of nitrate is mainly formed in the stratosphere and is well preserved in the snow pack. If true, we will for the first time resolve an atmospheric signal extracted from a nitrate profile. The snow pit will allow us to see any trend in the data on a multiple decade timescale.
Subduction zones are the one place on Earth where materials from the surface (water, sediments and crustal rocks) can be carried into our planet's deep interior. To quantify this process of subduction-zone recycling, we need to understand both the input of sediments and crust to trenches, and all geochemical outputs related to the subduction process. While the chemical outputs represented by magmatism at volcanic arcs and in back-arc settings have been widely studied, little is known about possible subduction-related outfluxes through the shallow forearc, between the arc and the trench. We are attempting to characterize the "forearc flux" by examining serpentinites which are rising diapirically through the forearc mantle and crust in the Mariana arc-trench system. Our work will complete efforts begun (with NSF support) several years ago, and will characterize these samples (and the slab-derived fluids which helped to create them) for radiogenic isotopes, lithium and oxygen isotopes, and the "fluid-mobile" elements Cs, Rb, U, As, Pb, and Sb. Our work will allow us to characterize both the chemical inventories of species that are released from subducting slabs beneath forearcs, and the magnitude of this flux, for comparison with results for trench inputs (being collected as part of ODP Leg 125), and existing data for arc volcanic outputs in the Mariana system.