Collaborative Research: Investigating Upper Pleistocene Rapid Climate Change using Continuous, Ultra-High-Resolution Aerosol and Gas Measurements in the WAIS Divide Ice Core

Affiliation(s) PI Project period Funded by
DHS McConnell, Joseph R 09/01/2012 - 08/31/2015 National Science Foundation

Project Description

The primary goal of the proposed project is to use unprecedented aerosol and continuous gas (methane, carbon monoxide) measurements of the deepest section of the WAIS Divide ice core to investigate rapid climate changes in Antarctica during the ~60,000 year long Marine Isotope Stage 3 (MIS3) period of the late Pleistocene. These analyses - combined with others - will take advantage of the high snow accumulation of the WAIS Divide ice core to yield the highest time resolution glaciochemical and gas record of any deep Antarctic ice core for this time period. The proposed research will expand already funded discrete gas measurements and extend currently funded continuous aerosol measurements on the WAIS Divide ice core from ~25,000 to ~60,000 years before present, spanning Heinrich events 3 to 6 and Antarctic Isotope Maximum (AIM, corresponding to the Northern Hemisphere Dansgaard-Oeschger) events 3 to 14. With other high resolution Greenland cores (e.g., GISP2, NEEM) and lower resolution Antarctic cores, the combined record will yield new insights into worldwide climate dynamics and abrupt change. The proposed measurements will utilize the Desert Research Institute's (DRI's) unique continuous-flow analysis with trace elements system - capable of quantifying a broad range of dust, sea salt, biomass burning, and volcanic aerosols. It will be expanded to include new analytical capabilities for continuous gas measurements - currently being developed and refined by Oregon State University (OSU), DRI, and other national and international collaborators under funding from an NSF Partnerships in International Research and Education (PIRE) grant - to analyze ~750 m of WAIS Divide ice.