Collaborative Research: Trapped Gas Composition and the Chronology of the Vostok Ice Core
Siple Dome Ice Core
High latitude deep ice cores contain fundamental records of polar temperatures, atmospheric dust loads (and continental aridity), greenhouse gas concentrations, the status of the biosphere, and other essential properties of past environments. An accurate chronology for these records is needed if their significance is to be fully realized. The dating challenge has stimulated efforts at orbital tuning. In this approach, one varies a timescale, within allowable limits, to optimize the match between a paleoenvironmental property and a curve of insolation through time. The ideal property would vary with time due to direct insolation forcing. It would be unaffected by complex climate feedbacks and teleconnections, and it would give a clean record with high signal/noise ratio. It is argued strongly that the O2/N2 ratio of ice core trapped gases is such a property, and evidence is presented that this property, whose atmospheric ratio is nearly constant, is tied to local summertime insolation. This award will support a project to analyze the O2/N2 ratios at 1 kyr intervals from ~ 115-400 ka in the Vostok ice core. Ancillary measurements will be made of Ar/N2, and Ne/N2 and heavy noble gas ratios, in order to understand bubble close-off fractionation and its manifestation in the Vostok trapped gas record. O2/N2 variations will be matched with summertime insolation at Vostok to achieve a high-accuracy chronology for the Vostok core. The Vostok and other correlatable climate records will then be reexamined to improve our understanding of the dynamics of Pleistocene climate change.
Data Management Plan
None in the Database