Measurement of light intensity transmission was carried out on an ice core S100 from coastal Dronning Maud Land (DML). Ice lenses were observed in digital pictures of the core and recorded as peaks in the light transmittance record. The frequency of ice layer occurrence was compared with climate proxy data (e.g. oxygen isotopes), annual accumulation rate derived from the same ice core, and available meteorological data from coastal stations in DML. The mean annual frequency of melting events remains constant for the last ∼150 years. However, fewer melting features are visible at depths corresponding to approximately 1890–1930 AD and the number of ice lenses increases again after 1930 AD. Most years during this period have negative summer temperature anomalies and positive annual accumulation anomalies. The increase in melting frequency around ∼1930 AD corresponds to the beginning of a decreasing trend in accumulation and an increasing trend in oxygen isotope record. On annual time scales, a relatively good match exists between ice layer frequencies and mean summer temperatures recorded at nearby meteorological stations (Novolazarevskaya, Sanae, Syowa and Halley) only for some years. There is a poor agreement between melt feature frequencies and oxygen isotope records on longer time scales. Melt layer frequency proved difficult to explain with standard climate data and ice core derived proxies. These results suggest a local character for the melt events and a strong influence of surface topography.