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Temperature history and accumulation timing for the snowpack at GISP2, central Greenland

  • C. A. Shuman (a1), R. B. Alley (a2), M. A. Fahnestock (a3), R. A. Bindschadler (a4), J. W. C. White (a5), J. Winterle (a6) and J. R. Mconnell (a6)...

Previous research has documented a close association between high-resolution snow-pit profiles of hydrogen and oxygen stable-isotope ratios and multi-year Special Sensor Microwave/lmager (SSM/I) 37 GHz brightness temperature data in central Greenland. Comparison of the SSM/I data to profiles obtained during the 1989-91 field seasons indicated that δD and δ 18O data from the near-surface snow at the Greenland summit are a reliable, high-resolution temperature proxy. To test this new technique further, additional stable-isotope data were obtained from a 2 m snow pit constructed during late-June 1995 near the GISP2 site.

This new profile, supported by pit stratigraphy and chemistry data, confirms the utility of comparing stable-isotope records with SSM/I brightness temperatures. The sub-annual variation of the δD record at the GISP2 site was determined using 15 match points, from approximately December 1991 through June 1995 and was guided in part by time-constrained hoar layers. The close association of these temperature proxies supports the assertion that snow accumulation occurs frequently through the year and that the isotope record initially contains temperature information from many times of the year. This is also independently confirmed by analysis of H2O2 data. The slope of the multi-year T vs δ correlation was evaluated along with the sub-annual variation in the amount, rate and timing of accumulation. These new results are consistent with those from the previous study and they also demonstrate that the snow in this area initially contains temperature and chemical records with sub-annual resolution. This encourages confident interpretation of the paleoclimatic signal variations in the GISP2 and GRIP deep cores.

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