Intra-annual variations in atmospheric dust and tritium in the North Pacific region detected from an ice core from Mount Wrangell, Alaska

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Abstract

[1] The North Pacific is subject to various seasonal climate phenomena and material circulations. Therefore intra-annual ice core data are necessary for an assessment of the climate variations. To assess past variations, a 50-m ice core was drilled at the summit of Mount Wrangell Volcano, Alaska. The dust number, tritium concentrations, and stable hydrogen isotope were analyzed. The period covered was from 1992 to 2002. We found that the concentrations of both fine dust (0.52–1.00 μm), an indicator of long-range transport, and coarse dust (1.00–8.00 μm) increased together every spring. Moreover, their concentrations increased drastically after 2000, corresponding to the recent increase in Asian dust outbreaks in spring. Additionally, an increase in the spring of 2001 corresponded to the largest dust storm recorded in east Asia since 1979. Therefore our findings imply that Asian dust strongly polluted Mount Wrangell every spring. The stratospheric tracer, tritium, had late spring maxima almost every year, and we found this useful for ice core dating to identify late spring in the North Pacific region. We also found that a high positive annual correlation existed between the calculated tritium and fine dust fluxes from late spring to summer. We propose that an annual relationship between the stratosphere-troposphere exchange and Asian dust storm are most closely connected in late spring because their activities are weak in summer. The Mount Wrangell ice core is important and useful for assessing the dust and tritium circulation in the distant past around the North Pacific with probable intra-annual timescale information.

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