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Effects of firn ventilation on isotopic exchange

  • Thomas A. Neumann (a1) (a2) and Edwin D. Waddington (a1)
Abstract
Abstract

A new model of isotopic diffusion in the upper few meters of firn tracks the isotopic composition of both the ice matrix and the pore-space vapor through time in two dimensions. Stable isotopes in the vapor phase move through the firn by diffusion along concentration gradients and by advection. Wind-driven ventilation carries atmospheric water vapor into the firn, where it mixes with existing pore-space vapor. Unlike previous models, our model allows disequilibrium between pore-space vapor and the surrounding snow grains. We also calculate the isotopic effects of ventilation-driven sublimation and condensation in the firn. Model predictions of isotopic diffusion in firn compare favorably with existing diffusion models. Model results quantify what other investigators have suggested: isotopic change in the upper few meters is more rapid than can be explained by the Whillans and Grootes (1985) model; isotopic equilibration with atmospheric vapor is an important component of post-depositional isotopic change; and ventilation enhances isotopic exchange by creating regions of relatively rapid sublimation and condensation in the firn.

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References
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Journal of Glaciology
  • ISSN: 0022-1430
  • EISSN: 1727-5652
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-glaciology
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