Methyl Chloride, Methyl Bromide, and Carbonyl Sulfide in Deep Antarctic Ice Cores
Siple Dome Ice Core, Taylor Dome Ice Core
This award supports a project to measure methyl chloride, methyl bromide, and carbonyl sulfide in air extracted from Antarctic ice cores. Previous measurements in firn air and shallow ice cores suggest that the ice archive contains paleo-atmospheric signals for these gases. The goal of this study is to extend these records throughout the Holocene and into the last Glacial period to examine the behavior of these trace gases over longer time scales and a wider range of climatic conditions. These studies are exploratory, and both the stability of these trace gases and the extent to which they may be impacted by in situ processes will be assessed. This project will involve sampling and analyzing archived ice core samples from the Siple Dome, Taylor Dome, Byrd, and Vostok ice cores. The ice core samples will be analyzed by dry extraction, with gas chromatography/mass spectrometry with isotope dilution. The ice core measurements will generate new information about the range of natural variability of these trace gases in the atmosphere. The intellectual merit of this project is that this work will provide an improved basis for assessing the impact of anthropogenic activities on biogeochemical cycles, and new insight into the climatic sensitivity of the biogeochemical processes controlling atmospheric composition. The broader impact of this project is that there is a strong societal interest in understanding how man's activities impact the atmosphere, and how atmospheric chemistry may be altered by future climate change. The results of this study will contribute to the development of scenarios used for future projections of stratospheric ozone and climate change. In terms of human development, this project will support the doctoral dissertation of a graduate student in Earth System Science, and undergraduate research on polar ice core chemistry. This project will also contribute to the development of an Earth Sciences teacher training curriculum for high school teachers in the Orange County school system in collaboration with an established, NSF-sponsored Math and Science Partnership program (FOCUS).
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