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Spatial and temporal variability in snow accumulation at the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide over recent centuries

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Abstract

[1] Ice cores collected in 2000 (ITASE 00-1) and 2005 (WDC05A, WDC05Q) from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide (WAIS Divide) project site were used to investigate the spatial and temporal variability in accumulation. The ice cores were dated based on annual layer counting of multiple glaciochemical measurements resulting in bottom depth ages for WDC05A, WDC05Q, and ITASE 00-1 of 1775, 1521, and 1653 A.D., with mean annual accumulation rates of 0.200, 0.204, and 0.221 mweq a−1, respectively. Small-scale spatial variability (SSV) was determined using an analysis of variance of accumulation in the ice core array, thereby quantifying the uncertainty in individual accumulation records. Results indicate that the spatial variability was 0.030 mweq a−1, or approximately 15% of the average annual accumulation. An accumulation record representative of the WAIS Divide local area over recent centuries was developed using a principal component analysis to identify the coherent accumulation signal. The WAIS Divide local record exhibited 14% interannual variability (1 standard deviation of the mean) with the SSV reduced to 0.017 mweq a−1. Correlations of the WAIS Divide local accumulation record with atmospheric indices (e.g., Antarctic Oscillation) exhibited periods when the records oscillate in and out of phase. Thus, reconstructing local and global atmospheric indices from WAIS Divide accumulation records over recent centuries may prove problematic.

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