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Holocene climate history for coastal East Antarctica: The isotopic record from the Law Dome deep ice core

Holocene climate history for coastal East Antarctica: The isotopic record from the Law Dome deep ice core
Andrew Moy


Moy, A.D.1,2, van Ommen, T.D.1,2, Morgan, V.1,2, Plummer, C.2,3, and Curran, M.A.J.1,2

  1. Australian Antarctic Division, Kingston, Australia
  2. Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia
  3. Institute for Marine and Antarctic Science, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia


Contiguous high-resolution oxygen isotope (d18O) measurements have been made along the entire length of the Dome Summit South (DSS) ice core from Law Dome (LD), Antarctica. This high-resolution d18O record provides a climate history for coastal East Antarctica spanning the last 90ky. We present here the Holocene part of the record – 10ky BP to the present. LD d18O during the Holocene is marked by a pronounced ‘warm’ peak at ca. 9.7ky followed by cooling. The subsequent cooling ends at ca. 7.5ky and is followed by a period of minimal isotope trend between ca. 7.5ky and ca. 3.6ky. The late Holocene shows a slow cooling trend from ca. 3.6ky to 1ky at which time there is a cooling event of some 0.5 permil. The recent 1ky is the isotopically ‘coolest’ period in the Holocene. The accumulated cooling since ca. 8ky is ca. 1 permil, amounting to ca. 2-3 degrees Celsius based on T/d18O calibrations derived by comparing interannual variations with meteorological records. This calibration value is substantially different to the value of ca 0.7 permil per deg C obtained from spatially distributed values for mean annual d18O and mean annual temperature. The cooling in the late Holocene part of the LD record differs significantly from records obtained from inland sites and other coastal sites. It is possible that a part or all of the isotope ratio change is a result of change in the elevation of the Dome but there is no convincing evidence of this.

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This page was last modified on 3 September 2013.