Project Information
Trace and Ultra-Trace Chemistry Measurements of the WAIS Divide Ice Core
WAIS Divide Ice Core
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.
Person Role
Bender, Michael Investigator
McConnell, Joseph Investigator
Antarctic Glaciology Award # 0538427
Data Management Plan
None in the Database
  1. McConnell, J. R., Burke, A., Dunbar, N. W., Köhler, P., Thomas, J. L., Arienzo, M. M., … Winckler, G. (2017). Synchronous volcanic eruptions and abrupt climate change ∼17.7 ka plausibly linked by stratospheric ozone depletion. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114(38), 10035–10040. (doi:10.1073/pnas.1705595114)
  2. Liu, P., Kaplan, J. O., Mickley, L. J., Li, Y., Chellman, N. J., Arienzo, M. M., … McConnell, J. R. (2021). Improved estimates of preindustrial biomass burning reduce the magnitude of aerosol climate forcing in the Southern Hemisphere. Science Advances, 7(22), eabc1379. (doi:10.1126/sciadv.abc1379)
  3. Sigl, M., McConnell, J. R., Layman, L., Maselli, O., McGwire, K., Pasteris, D., … Kipfstuhl, S. (2013). A new bipolar ice core record of volcanism from WAIS Divide and NEEM and implications for climate forcing of the last 2000 years. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 118(3), 1151–1169. (doi:10.1029/2012jd018603)

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