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Volcanic signals in ice core records from Law Dome, East Antarctica

Volcanic signals in ice core records from Law Dome, East Antarctica
Samuel Poynter

Authors

Poynter S
Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

Curran M
Australian Antarctic Division, Kingston, and Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

Plummer C
Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

Moy A
Australian Antarctic Division, Kingston, and Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

van Ommen T
Australian Antarctic Division, Kingston, and Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

Roberts J
Australian Antarctic Division, Kingston, and Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

McConnell J
Division of Hydrologic Sciences, Desert Research Institute, Nevada, USA

Etheridge D
CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, Aspendale, Victoria, Australia

Abstract

Volcanic forcing is a major influence on our climate, and ice cores provide the best record of the timing and strength of volcanic eruptions. Our understanding of volcanic sulfate deposition is very important and is generally attributed to the physical characteristics of the site, climatic circulation patterns and depositional mechanisms. However, localised variation in volcanic sulfate deposition is not widely understood, arguably due to the small number of ice core records originating from clustered sites.

The Dome Summit South (DSS) ice core from Law Dome holds one of the most accurately dated volcanic records from Antarctica. This location is characterised by a high snow accumulation rate, with a decrease in accumulation observed in a westerly direction across Law Dome. A second, independently-layer counted record (W10k) has been recently generated from a site 10 km west of DSS, and covers a period of 270 years up to 2009 CE.

Presented here is a comparison of volcanic sulfate records from four sites, namely DE08, DSS, W10k and W19k (in order of accumulation) lying in an approximate 40 km East-West transect across Law Dome. Nine major low-latitude volcanic events are preserved in these records, of which the largest are the 1815 CE Tambora eruption and the 1809 CE eruption at an unidentified location.

While the absolute concentration of volcanic sulfate is in agreement between the sites for the 8 smallest events, the concentration during the Tambora event displays an inverse relationship with respect to the accumulation rate. It is envisaged that by using this data to generate an uncertainty estimation of volcanic sulfate deposition, this study will improve the accuracy and further strengthen volcanic forcing in climate models.

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This page was last modified on 3 September 2013.