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Antarctic blue ice areas - towards extracting palaeoclimate information

  • Anna Sinisalo (a1) and John C. Moore (a1) (a2) (a3)

We review the current scientific knowledge about Antarctic Blue Ice Areas (BIAs) with emphasis on their application for palaeoclimate studies. Substantial progress has been made since the review by Bintanja (1999), in particular dating the archive of ancient ice found on the surface of BIAs has progressed with advances in 14C measurements, tephrachronology, and geomorphological evidence giving better constraints to more sophisticated ice flow models. Flow modelling also provides information about past changes in ice flow velocities, accumulation rates and ice sheet elevation. The availability of gas composition in vertical cores from BIAs allows matching to well-dated global records of greenhouse gas variability over the last glacial-interglacial cycle and longer. It is clear from the limited number of studies to date that BIAs from different regions have quite different histories of formation and preservation, and that they are intimately linked to the response of their surrounding ice sheets to climate variability on glacial-interglacial time-scales. Looking to the future, climate records from BIAs are expected to provide information on variations in Southern Ocean processes as well as ice sheet evolution within the East Antarctic ice sheet at the thermal transition from cold based to warm based ice.

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Current affiliation: University of Oslo, Department of Geosciences, Norway

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