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The effect of temporal variations in the surface mass balance and temperature-inversion strength on the interpretation of ice-core signals

  • Nicole P. M. Van Lipzig (a1), Erik Van Meijgaard (a1) and Johannes Oerlemans (a2)

Abstract

The proxy for temperature (δ signal) in ice cores is stored in the snow/ice during precipitation events and hence reflects the temperature at which precipitation is formed (here approximated by the inversion temperature Ti ) weighted with the accumulation. Results from a 14 year integration (1980–93) with a regional atmospheric model (RACMO, ΔX = 55 km) show that the annual mean accumulation-weighted inversion temperature (T i,w) and the annual mean T i are not covariant in time at four out of the five deep-drilling sites considered, mainly due to year-to-year variations in the seasonality of precipitation. As a consequence, the surface temperature (T s,core) derived from RACMO output, using a method analogous to the retrieval of the surface temperature from ice-core δ signals, deviates from the directly modelled surface temperature T s on interannual time-scales. Results from a 5 year sensitivity integration, forced with a 2 K temperature increase, show an 18% overestimation of the increase in T s,core relative to the increase in T s due to a change in the relationship between the inversion strength and the surface temperature in a different climate regime. Similar errors may occur in deriving the temperature difference between Last Glacial Maximum and present-day climate from δ signals in ice cores.

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References

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The effect of temporal variations in the surface mass balance and temperature-inversion strength on the interpretation of ice-core signals

  • Nicole P. M. Van Lipzig (a1), Erik Van Meijgaard (a1) and Johannes Oerlemans (a2)

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