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Snow accumulation rates in northern Victoria Land, Antarctica, by firn-core analysis

  • Barbara Stenni (a1) (a2), Francesca Serra (a1), Massimo Frezzotti (a3), Valter Maggi (a2), Rita Traversi (a4), Silvia Becagli (a4) and Roberto Udisti (a4) (a5)...

A multiparametric (chemical, isotopic and physical) study on three shallow firn cores sampled in northern Victoria Land was carried out to obtain glaciological information and climatic data in this Antarctic region. Sampling areas were accurately prospected to identify sites, located at different altitudes and distances from the sea, where the snow accumulation was not influenced by katabatic wind redistribution or summer melting. Stratigraphic, isotopic (δ l8O) and chemical (H2O2, MSA and nssSO4 2−) profiles were mutually examined for dating purposes and to determine the mean snow-accumulation rates at three different stations. Annual accumulation rates of 85–420 kg m−2 a−1 were determined in the period 1971–92. An inverse pattern between accumulation rate and altitude was shown by the progression of the mean annual rates of 160, 203 and 260 kg m−2 a−1, respectively, in the highest, medium and lowest stations. The mean accumulation value of all northern Victoria Land data available, 170 kg m−2 a−1, represents a decrease of up to 35% with respect to the estimated value most widely used until now. Our accumulation value is very close to that required for a zero net surface mass balance according to ice discharge. A linear relationship with a gradient of 0.81‰ °C−1 has been found between mean δ 18O values and mean annual surface temperature for different ice cores drilled in northern Victoria Land.

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