Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Snow Accumulation and Oxygen-Isotope Records at the Law Dome Summit, Antarctica (Abstract)

  • V. I. Morgan (a1)

Abstract

At the summit of Law Dome (66°44′S, 112°50′E) the annual snow accumulation is equivalent to 0.7 m of water, and seasonal cycles of oxygen-isotope ratio are preserved clearly in the firn. Isotope-ratio measurements on three 28 m deep ice cores taken 15 m apart near the summit show that although annual layer thicknesses are well correlated between the cores, the actual isotope values (even when averaged over several years’ accumulation) are poorly correlated.

Since the three sites must obviously receive the same precipitation, the differences in isotope ratio imply that the amounts of the precipitation retained as accumulation from individual snow-falls throughout the year must vary. The large seasonal variation in isotope ratio then easily accounts for the offsets.

In the Law Dome region, precipitation occurs mainly as a result of cyclonic activity in spring, winter and autumn. The stronger winds experienced at these times cause the snow to be formed into large dunes, which are the stable (although moving) surface configuration under these conditions. The movement of dunes by erosion on one face and deposition on the other causes the snow in them to be well mixed. Isotope measurements on a 0.7 m high dune on the inland ice cap showed that it was composed of “winter” snow, with an average isotope value of −28.2% and a range of only 1%. The harder underlying snow had values which varied between −24.2 and −27.4%.

During periods of relatively calm or warm conditions the dunes become consolidated and their movement is greatly reduced. Further snow-falls then do not add accumulation to the top and up-wind side of the dunes but tend to fill them in on the down-wind side. In particular it is observed that for Law Dome the surface profile is quite rough in winter and spring, but the more gentle winds and light snow-falls experienced in summer produce a very smooth surface at the beginning of autumn, with all the surface hollows filled in.

The ice-core isotope profiles confirm the evenness of the summer accumulation, compared to that of winter. Correlation coefficients are typically 0.26 for the winter minima and 0.65 for the summer peak in isotope ratio. This means that somewhat shorter averaging times can be used when compiling “climatic” records from isotope profiles if only the “summer” isotope values are used. This is useful in comparison of isotopic and meteorological data when only a limited time span is available.

Apart from the short-term effects, which can be reduced as desired by longer averaging periods, these core studies also demonstrate how any process which can modulate the precipitation or accumulation will also affect the isotopic composition of the accumulated snow.

    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Snow Accumulation and Oxygen-Isotope Records at the Law Dome Summit, Antarctica (Abstract)
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Snow Accumulation and Oxygen-Isotope Records at the Law Dome Summit, Antarctica (Abstract)
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Snow Accumulation and Oxygen-Isotope Records at the Law Dome Summit, Antarctica (Abstract)
      Available formats
      ×

Copyright

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed