Project Information
Collaborative Research: Peripheral East Antarctic ice as a unique recorder of climate variability during the Last Interglacial
Start Date:
End Date:
The spatial extent of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet during the last interglacial period (129,000 to 116,000 years ago) is currently unknown, yet this information is fundamental to projections of the future stability of the ice sheet in a warming climate. Paleoclimate records and proxy evidence such as dust can inform on past environmental conditions and ice-sheet coverage. This project will combine new, high-sensitivity geochemical measurements of dust from Antarctic ice collected at Allan Hills with existing water isotope records to document climate and environmental changes through the last interglacial period. These changes will then be compared with Earth-system model simulations of dust and water isotopes to determine past conditions and constrain the sensitivity of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet to warming. The project will test the hypothesis that the uncharacteristically volcanic dust composition observed at another peripheral ice core site at Taylor Glacier during the last interglacial period is related to changes in the spatial extent of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. This project aims to characterize mineral dust transport during the penultimate glacial-interglacial transition. The team will apply high-precision geochemical techniques to the high-volume, high-resolution ice core drilled at the Allan Hills site in combination with Earth system model simulations to: (1) determine if the volcanic dust signature found in interglacial ice from Taylor Glacier is also found at Allan Hills, (2) determine the likely dust source(s) to this site during the last interglacial, and (3) probe the atmospheric and environmental changes during the last interglacial with a diminished West Antarctic Ice Sheet. The team will develop a suite of measurements on previously drilled ice from Allan Hills, including isotopic compositions of Strontium and Neodymium, trace element concentrations, dust-size distribution, and imaging of ice-core dust to confirm the original signal observed and provide a broader spatial reconstruction of dust transport. In tandem, the team will conduct Earth system modeling with prognostic dust and water-isotope capability to test the sensitivity of dust transport under several plausible ice-sheet and freshwater-flux configurations. By comparing dust reconstruction and model simulations, the team aims to elucidate the driving mechanisms behind dust transport during the last interglacial period.
Person Role
Aarons, Sarah Investigator and contact
Tabor, Clay Co-Investigator
Antarctic Glaciology Award # 2035637
Antarctic Glaciology Award # 2035580
AMD - DIF Record(s)
Data Management Plan
None in the Database
Product Level:
0 (raw data)
Platforms and Instruments

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