Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Towards radiocarbon dating of ice cores

  • M. Sigl (a1) (a2) (a3), T.M. Jenk (a4), T. Kellerhals (a1) (a2), S. Szidat (a1), H.W. Gäggeler (a1) (a2), L. Wacker (a5), H.-A. Synal (a5), C. Boutron (a6), C. Barbante (a7) (a8), J. Gabrieli (a7) and M. Schwikowski (a2) (a3)...

Abstract

A recently developed dating method for glacier ice, based on the analysis of radiocarbon in carbonaceous aerosol particles, is thoroughly investigated. We discuss the potential of this method to achieve a reliable dating using examples from a mid- and a low-latitude ice core. Two series of samples from Colle Gnifetti (4450 m a.s.l., Swiss Alps) and Nevado Illimani (6300 m a.s.l., Bolivian Andes) demonstrate that the 14C ages deduced from the water-insoluble organic carbon fraction represent the age of the ice. Sample sizes ranged between 7 and 100 μg carbon. For validation we compare our results with those from independent dating. This new method is thought to have major implications for dating non-polar ice cores in the future, as it provides complementary age information for time periods not accessible with common dating techniques.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Towards radiocarbon dating of ice cores
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Towards radiocarbon dating of ice cores
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Towards radiocarbon dating of ice cores
      Available formats
      ×

Copyright

References

Hide All
Abbott, M.B. and 9 others. 2003. Holocene paleohydrology and glacial history of the central Andes using multiproxy lake sediment studies. Palaeogeogr., Palaeoclimatol., Palaeoecol., 194(1–3), 123138.
Alean, J., Haeberli, W. and Schädler, B.. 1983. Snow accumulation, firn temperature and solar radiation in the area of the Colle Gnifetti core drilling site (Monte Rosa, Swiss Alps): distribution patterns and interrelationships. Z. Gletscherkd. Glazialgeol., 19(2), 131147.
Baker, P.A. and 8 others. 2001. The history of South American tropical precipitation for the past 25,000 years. Science, 291(5504), 640643.
Barbante, C. and 14 others. 2004. Historical record of European emissions of heavy metals to the atmosphere since the 1650s from alpine snow/ice cores drilled near Monte Rosa. Environ . Sci. Technol., 38(15), 40854090.
Bard, E. and Frank, M.. 2006. Climate change and solar variability: what’s new under the sun? Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 248(1–2),114.
Bard, E., Arnold, M., Maurice, P., Duprat, J., Moyes, J. and Duplessy, J.C.. 1987. Retreat velocity of the North Atlantic polar front during the last deglaciation determined by 14C accelerator mass spectrometry. Nature, 328(6133), 791794.
Biegalski, S.R., Currie, L.A., Fletcher, R.A., Klouda, G.A. and Weissenbök, R.. 1998. AMS and microprobe analysis of combusted particles in ice and snow. Radiocarbon, 40(1), 310.
Blaauw, M. and Christen, J.A.. 2005. The problems of radiocarbon dating. Science, 308(5728), 15511553.
Bronk Ramsey, C. 2001. Development of the radiocarbon program. Radiocarbon, 43(2A), 355363.
Bronk Ramsey, C. 2008. Deposition models for chronological records. Quat. Sci. Rev., 27(1–2), 4260.
Brook, E.J. 2005. Tiny bubbles tell all. Science, 310(5752), 12851287.
Chýlek, P., Johnson, B., Damiano, P., Taylor, K.C. and Clement, P.. 1995. Biomass burning record and black carbon in the GISP2 ice core. Geophys. Res. Lett., 22(2), 8992.
Clausen, H.B. and 6 others. 1997. A comparison of the volcanic records over the past 4000 years from the Greenland Ice Core Project and Dye 3 Greenland ice cores. J. Geophys. Res., 102(C12), 26,70726,723.
Currie, L.A. 2000. Evolution and multidisciplinary frontiers of 14C aerosol science. Radiocarbon, 42(1), 115126.
De Angelis, M., Simões, J., Bonnaveira, H., Taupin, J.D. and Delmas, R.J.. 2003. Volcanic eruptions recorded in the Illimani ice core (Bolivia): 1918–1998 and Tambora periods. Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 3(3), 2,4272,463.
Donahue, D.J., Linick, T.W. and Jull, A.J.T.. 1990. Isotope-ratio and background corrections for accelerator mass spectrometry radiocarbon measuments. Radiocarbon, 32(2), 135142.
Döscher, A., Gäggeler, H.W., Schotterer, U. and Schwikowski, M.. 1996. A historical record of ammonium concentrations from a glacier in the Alps. Geophys. Res. Lett., 23(20), 27412744.
Drosg, R., Kutschera, W., Scholz, K., Steier, P., Wagenbach, D. and Wild, E.M.. 2007. Treatment of small samples of particulate organic carbon (POC) for radiocarbon dating of ice. Nucl. Instrum. Meth. Phys. Res. B, 259(1), 340344.
Eglinton, T.I., Eglinton, G., Dupont, L., Sholkovitz, E.R., Montluçon, D. and Reddy, C.M.. 2002. Composition, age, and provenance of organic matter in NW African dust over the Atlantic Ocean. Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 3(8), 3050. (10.1029/2001GC000269.)
Eichler, A. and 7 others. 2000. Glaciochemical dating of an ice core from upper Grenzgletscher (4200 m a.s.l.). J. Glaciol., 46(154), 507515.
Eisen, O., Nixdorf, U., Keck, L. and Wagenbach, D.. 2003. Alpine ice cores and ground penetrating radar: combined investigations for glaciological and climatic interpretations of a cold Alpine ice body. Tellus B, 55(5), 10071017.
EPICA Community Members. 2004. Eight glacial cycles from an Antarctic ice core. Nature, 429(6992), 623628.
Fagerli, H., Legrand, M., Preunkert, S., Vestreng, V., Simpson, D. and Cerqueira, M.. 2007. Modeling historical long-term trends of sulfate, ammonium, and elemental carbon over Europe: a comparison with ice core records in the Alps. J. Geophys. Res., 112(D23), D23S13. (10.1029/2006JD008044.)
Gäggeler, H., von Gunten, H.R., Rössler, E., Oeschger, H. and Schotterer, U.. 1983. 210Pb-dating of cold Alpine firn/ice cores from Colle Gnifetti, Switzerland. J. Glaciol., 29(101), 165177.
Gavin, D.G. 2001. Estimation of inbuilt age in radiocarbon ages of soil charcoal for fire history studies. Radiocarbon, 43(1), 2744.
Graham, B. and 15 others. 2003. Composition and diurnal variability of the natural Amazonian aerosol. J. Geophys. Res., 108(D24), 2765. (10.1029/2003JD004049.)
Guyon, P. and 6 others. 2003. In-canopy gradients, composition, sources, and optical properties of aerosol over the Amazon forest. J. Geophys. Res., 108(D18), 4591. (10.1029/2003JD003465.)
Guyon, P. and 6 others. 2004. Sources of optically active aerosol particles over the Amazon forest. Atmos. Environ., 38(7), 10391051.
Haeberli, W. 1977. Sahara dust in the Alps – a short review. Z. Gletscherkd. Glazialgeol., 13(1–2), 206208.
Haeberli, W. and Alean, J.. 1985. Temperature and accumulation of high altitude firn in the Alps. Ann. Glaciol., 6, 161163.
Hagler, G.S.W., Bergin, M.H., Smith, E.A., Dibb, J.E., Anderson, C. and Steig, E.J.. 2007. Particulate and water-soluble carbon measured in recent snow at Summit, Greenland. Geophys. Res. Lett., 34(16), L16505. (10.1029/2007GL030110.)
Jenk, T.M. and 7 others. 2006. Radiocarbon analysis in an Alpine ice core: record of anthropogenic and biogenic contributions to carbonaceous aerosols in the past (1650–1940). Atmos. Chem. Phys., 6(12), 53815390.
Jenk, T.M. and 6 others. 2007. Microgram level radiocarbon (14C) determination on carbonaceous particles in ice. Nucl. Instrum. Meth. Phys. Res. B, 259(1), 518525.
Jenk, T.M. and 9 others. 2009. A novel radiocarbon dating technique applied to an ice core from the Alps indicating late Pleistocene ages. J. Geophys. Res., 114(D14), D14305. (10.1029/2009JD011860.)
Kellerhals, T. 2008. Holocene climate fluctuations in tropical South America deduced from an Illimani ice core. (PhD thesis, University of Bern.)
Knüsel, S. and 8 others. 2003. Dating of two nearby ice cores from the Illimani, Bolivia. J. Geophys. Res., 108(D6), 4181. (10.1029/2001JD002028.)
Knüsel, S., Brütsch, S., Henderson, K.A., Palmer, A.S. and Schwikowski, M.. 2005. ENSO signals of the twentieth century in an ice core from Nevado Illimani, Bolivia. J. Geophys. Res., 110(D1), D01102. (10.1029/2004JD005420.)
Lavanchy, V.M.H., Gäggeler, H.W., Schotterer, U., Schwikowski, M. and Baltensperger, U.. 1999. Historical record of carbonaceous particle concentrations from a European high-alpine glacier (Colle Gnifetti, Switzerland). J. Geophys. Res., 104(D17), 21,22721,236.
Legrand, M. and others. 2007. Major 20th century changes of carbonaceous aerosol components (EC, WinOC, DOC, HULIS, carboxylic acids, and cellulose) derived from Alpine ice cores. J. Geophys. Res., 112(D23), D23S11. (10.1029/2006JD008080.)
Lugauer, M. and 6 others. 1998. Aerosol transport to the high Alpine sites Jungfraujoch (3454 m a.s.l.) and Colle Gnifetti (4452 m a.s.l.). Tellus B, 50(1), 7692.
Lüthi, M.P. and Funk, M.. 2001. Modelling heat flow in a cold, high-altitude glacier: interpretation of measurements from Colle Gnifetti, Swiss Alps. J. Glaciol., 47(157), 314324.
Masson-Delmotte, V. and 8 others. 2009. GRIP deuterium excess reveals rapid and orbital-scale changes in Greenland moisture origin. Science, 309(5731), 118121.
Maupetit, F., Wagenbach, D., Weddeking, P. and Delmas, R.J.. 1995. Seasonal fluxes of major ions to a high altitude cold alpine glacier. Atmos. Environ., 29(1), 19.
McConnell, J.R. and 9 others. 2007. 20th-century industrial black carbon emissions altered Arctic climate forcing. Science, 317(5843), 13811384.
McCormac, F.G., Hogg, A.G., Blackwell, P.G., Buck, C.E., Higham, T.F.G. and Reimer, P.J.. 2004. SHCal04 southern hemisphere calibration, 0–11.0 cal kyr BP. Radiocarbon, 46(3), 10871092.
Meese, D.A. and 8 others. 1997. The Greenland Ice Sheet Project 2 depth–age scale: methods and results. J. Geophys. Res., 102(C12), 26,41126,423.
Muscheler, R., Joos, F., Beer, J., Müller, S.A., Vonmoos, M. and Snowball, I.. 2007. Solar activity during the last 1000 yr inferred from radionuclide records. Quat. Sci. Rev., 26(1–2), 8297.
North Greenland Ice Core Project (NorthGRIP) Members. 2004. High-resolution record of Northern Hemisphere climate extending into the last interglacial period. Nature, 431(7005), 147151.
Oeschger, H., Schotterer, U., Stauffer, B., Haeberli, W. and Röthlisberger, H.. 1977. First results from Alpine core drilling projects. Z. Gletscherkd. Glazialgeol., 13(1–2), 193208.
Parrenin, F. and 26 others. 2007. The EDC3 chronology for the EPICA Dome C ice core. Climate Past, 3(3), 485497.
Ramirez, E. and 12 others. 2003. A new Andean deep ice core from Nevado Illimani (6350m), Bolivia. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 212(3–4), 337350.
Reddy, C.M. and 8 others. 2002. Radiocarbon as a tool to apportion the sources of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and black carbon in environmental samples. Environ. Sci. Technol., 36(8), 17741782.
Reimer, P.J. and 28 others. 2004. IntCal04 terrestrial radiocarbon age calibration, 0–26 cal kyr BP. Radiocarbon, 46(3), 10291058.
Ruff, M., Wacker, L., Gäggeler, H.W., Suter, M., Synal, H.-A. and Szidat, S.. 2007. A gas ion source for radiocarbon measurements at 200 kV. Radiocarbon, 49(2), 307314.
Ruff, M., Szidat, S., Gäggeler, H.W., Suter, M., Synal, H.-A. and Wacker, L.. In press. Gaseous radiocarbon measurements of small samples. Nucl. Instrum. Meth. Phys. Res. B (10.1016/j.nimb.2009.10.032.)
Santos, G.M., Moore, R.B., Southon, J.R., Griffin, S., Hinger, E. and Zhang, D.. 2007a. AMS C-14 sample preparation at the KCCAMS/UCI facility: status report and performance of small samples. Radiocarbon, 49(2), 255269.
Santos, G.M., Southon, J.R., Griffin, S., Beaupre, S.R. and Druffel, E.R.M.. 2007b. Ultra small-mass AMS C-14 sample preparation and analyses at KCCAMS/UCI Facility. Nucl. Instrum. Meth. Phys. Res. B, 259(1), 293302.
Schwikowski, M., Seibert, P., Baltensperger, U. and Gäggeler, H.W.. 1995. Study of an outstanding Saharan dust event at the high-Alpine site Jungfraujoch, Switzerland. Atmos. Environ., 29(15), 18291842.
Schwikowski, M., Döscher, A., Gäggeler, H. and Schotterer, U.. 1999. Anthropogenic versus natural sources of atmospheric sulphate from an Alpine ice core. Tellus B, 51(5), 938951.
Scott, E.M. 2003. The Third International Radiocarbon Inter-comparison (TIRI) and the Fourth International Radiocarbon Intercomparison (FIRI) – 1999–2002 results, analysis and conclusions. Radiocarbon, 45(2), 135328.
Seinfeld, J.H. and Pandis, S.N.. 1998. Atmospheric chemistry and physics: from air pollution to climate change. New York, John Wiley and Sons.
Slater, J.F., Currie, L.A., Dibb, J.E. and Benner, B.A., Jr. 2002. Distinguishing the relative contribution of fossil fuel and biomass combustion aerosols deposited at Summit, Greenland through isotopic and molecular characterization of insoluble carbon. Atmos. Environ., 36(28), 44634477.
Sodemann, H., Palmer, A.S., Schwierz, C., Schwikowski, M. and Wernli, H.. 2006. The transport history of two Saharan dust events archived in an Alpine ice core. Atmos. Chem. Phys., 6(3), 667688.
Sowers, T. and Bender, M.. 1995. Climate records covering the last deglaciation. Science, 269(5221), 210214.
Steier, P. and 6 others. 2006. Radiocarbon determination of particulate organic carbon in non-temperated, alpine glacier ice. Radiocarbon, 48(1), 6982.
Stuiver, M. and Polach, H.A.. 1977. Discussion: reporting of C-14 data. Radiocarbon, 19(3), 355363.
Synal, H.-A., Jacob, S. and Suter, M.. 2000. The PSI/ETH small radiocarbon dating system. Nucl. Instrum. Meth. Phys. Res. B, 172(1–4), 17.
Synal, H.-A., Stocker, M. and Suter, M.. 2007. MICADAS: A new compact radiocarbon AMS system. Nucl. Instrum. Meth. Phys. Res. B, 259(1), 713.
Szidat, S. and 10 others. 2004a. Radiocarbon (14C)-deduced biogenic and anthropogenic contributions to organic carbon (OC) of urban aerosols from Zürich, Switzerland. Atmos. Environ., 38(24), 40354044.
Szidat, S. and 11 others. 2004b. Source apportionment of aerosols by 14C measurements in different carbonaceous particle fractions. Radiocarbon, 46(1), 475484.
Szidat, S. and 6 others. 2004c. THEODORE, a two-step heating system for the EC/OC determination of radiocarbon (14C) in the environment. Nucl. Instrum. Meth. Phys. Res. B, 223–224, 829836.
Szidat, S. and 7 others. 2006. Contributions of fossil fuel, biomassburning, and biogenic emissions to carbonaceous aerosols in Zurich as traced by 14C. J. Geophys. Res., 111(D7), D07206. (10.1029/2005JD006590.)
Thompson, L.G. and 7 others. 1995. Late glacial stage and Holocene tropical ice core records from Huascarán, Peru. Science, 269(5220), 4650.
Thompson, L.G. and 11 others. 1998. A 25,000-year tropical climate history from Bolivian ice cores. Science, 282(5395), 18581864.
Thompson, L.G. and 10 others. 2002. Kilimanjaro ice core records: evidence for Holocene climate change in Tropical Africa. Science, 298(5593), 589593.
Thompson, L.G. and 8 others. 2006a. Abrupt tropical climate change: past and present. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA (PNAS), 103(28), 10,53610,543.
Thompson, L.G. and 6 others. 2006b. Ice core evidence for asynchronous glaciation on the Tibetan Plateau. Quat. Int., 154–155, 310.
Vinther, B.M. and 12 others. 2006. A synchronized dating of three Greenland ice cores throughout the Holocene. J. Geophys. Res., 111(D13), D13102. (10.1029/2005JD006921.)
Wacker, L., Christl, M. and Synal, H.-A.. In press. Bats: a new powerful tool for AMS data reduction. Nucl. Instrum. Meth. Phys. Res. B (10.1016/j.nimb.2009.10.078.)
Wagenbach, D. and Geis, K.. 1989. The mineral dust record in a high altitude Alpine glacier (Colle Gnifetti, Swiss Alps). In Leinen, M. and Sarnthein, M., eds. Paleoclimatology and paleometeorology: modern and past patterns of global atmospheric transport. Dordrecht, etc., Kluwer Academic Publishers, 543564. (NATO ASI Series C: Mathematical and Physical Sciences 282.)
Wagenbach, D., Preunkert, S., Schaefer, J., Jung, W. and Tomadin, L.. 1996. Northward transport of Saharan dust recorded in a deep Alpine ice core. In Guerzoni, S. and Chester, R., eds. The impact of African dust across the Mediterranean. Dordrecht, etc., Kluwer Academic Publishers, 291300.
Wagner, S. 1994. Three-dimensional flow and age distribution at a high-altitude ice-core drilling site. In Haeberli, W. and Stauffer, B., eds. Proceedings of the ESF/EPC Workshop on Greenhouse Gases, Isotopes and Trace Elements in Glaciers as Climate Evidence for Holocene, 27–28 October 1992, Zürich. Zürich, VAW Arbeitsheft.

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed