Dataset Information
Firn Air Inert Gas and Oxygen Observations from Siple Dome, 1996, and the South Pole, 2001
Data DOI:
Cite as
Severinghaus, J. P., Battle, M., & Bender, M. (2006) "Firn Air Inert Gas and Oxygen Observations from Siple Dome, 1996, and the South Pole, 2001" U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP) Data Center. doi:
AMD - DIF Record(s)
This data set includes gas ratios in polar firn air: O<sub>2</sub>/N<sub>2</sub>, <sup>15</sup>N/<sup>14</sup>N, <sup>40</sup>Ar/N<sub>2</sub>, <sup>40</sup>Ar/<sup>36</sup>Ar, <sup>40</sup>Ar/<sup>38</sup>Ar, <sup>84</sup>Kr/<sup>36</sup>Ar, <sup>132</sup>Xe/<sup>36</sup>Ar, and <sup>22</sup>Ne/<sup>36</sup>Ar. Investigators sampled air from the permeable snowpack (firn) layer at two sites: Siple Dome, Antarctica in 1996 and at the South Pole in 2001. They observed and modeled the processes of gravitational settling, thermal fractionation, and preferential exclusion of small gas molecules from closed air bubbles. The purpose of this study was to understand these physical processes, which affect the composition of bubbles trapped in ice. By measuring these gas ratios in the ancient air preserved in bubbles trapped in ice, researchers can determine past atmospheric composition and local temperature changes along with the relative timing and magnitude of such events. The data file is available in Microsoft Excel format. The research paper is available in PDF. Data and the research paper are available via FTP.
Severinghaus, Jeffrey P.; Bender, Michael; Battle, Mark
Date Created:
USAP-DC (current) - NSIDC (original)
Spatial Extent(s)
West: -148.767, East: -148.767, South: -80.667, North: -80.667
West: 0, East: 0, South: -90, North: -90
Temporal Extent(s)
Start: 1996-12-15 - End: 1996-12-21
Start: 2001-01-21 - End: 2001-01-21
  1. Bender, M. L., T. Sowers, J. -M. Barnola, and J. Chappellaz. 1994. Changes in the O2/N2 ratio of the atmosphere during recent decades reflected in the composition of air in the firn at Vostok Station, Antarctica. Geophysical Research Letters 21 189–192. (doi:10.1029/93GL03548)
  2. Bender, M. L., P. P. Tans, J. T. Ellis, J. Orchardo, and K. Habfast. 1994. A high-precision isotope ratio mass-spectrometry method for measuring the O2/N2 ratio of air. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 58 4751–4758. (doi:10.1016/0016-7037(94)90205-4)
  3. Bender, M. L., D. T. Ho, M. B. Hendricks, R. Mika, M. O. Battle, P. P. Tans, T. J. Conway, B. Sturtevant, and N. Cassar. 2005. Atmospheric O2/ N2 changes, 1993–2002: implications for the partitioning of fossil fuel CO2 sequestration. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 19 GB4017. (doi:10.1029/2004GB002410)
  4. Severinghaus, J. P., A. Grachev, B. Luz, and N. Caillon. 2003. A method for precise measurement of argon 40/36 and krypton/argon ratios in trapped air in polar ice with applications to past firn thickness and abrupt climate change in Greenland and at Siple Dome, Antarctica. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 67 325–343. (doi:10.1016/S0016-7037(02)00965-1)
  5. Severinghaus, J. P., and M. O. Battle. 2006. Fractionation of gases in polar ice during bubble close-off: new constraints from firn air Ne, Kr and Xe observations. Earth and Planetary Science Letters EPSL-08011. (doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2006.01.032)
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