Collaborative Research: Completing an ultra-high resolution methane record from the WAIS Divide ice core
WAIS Divide Ice Core
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.
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