Collaborative Research: Analysis of McCall Glacier Ice Core and Related Modern Process Studies

Affiliation(s)PIProject periodFunded by
DHS McConnell, Joseph R 09/01/2010 - 08/31/2011 National Science Foundation

Project Description

The proposed research addresses two overarching questions related to climate in the eastern Alaskan Arctic: "How has climate, terrestrial ecology, and pollutant transport changed over the past 250 years in this region, based on ice core reconstructions from McCall Glacier?" and "How well can we overcome the challenges of core proxy interpretations from ice cores taken from small polythermal valley glaciers through modern-process studies?" To answer these questions we will conduct an inter-disciplinary analysis of ice core proxies, atmospheric dynamics, modern processes, and numerical ice flow modeling. The highest risk portions of this research are already complete: 1) we have already extracted a 152m ice core to bedrock, 2) we have processed the core completely for over 35 chemical proxies, 3) we have done preliminary measurements on stable isotopes of water and pollen, 4) we have found that these proxies contain useful climate signals back to about 1750AD, 5) we have run a 3D higher-order flow model on the glacier, 6) we have completed a preliminary synoptic climatology of the area, and 7) we have a huge archive of prior glacier-climate research at this site to help overcome some of the substantial challenges to core interpretation from a valley glacier. What we have lacked to this point is funding for what remains to fully exploit the variety of proxies present by a variety of multi-disciplinary modern process studies to build transfer-functions relating these proxies to the past 50 years of instrumental and global reanalysis climate records, then apply these transfer functions to hindcast the major shifts in paleoclimate, paleoecology, and pollutant transport over the past 250 years.