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Surface Mass-Balance Variability Near “Byrd” Station, Antarctica, and its Importance to Ice Core Stratigraphy *

  • I. M. Whillans (a1)

Abstract

The local variability in surface mass balance (net snow accumulation) up-glacier from "Byrd" station, Antarctica, is due to the combined effects of year-to-year "climate" variations and of the surface microrelief clue to snow drifts and sastrugi. These variabilities are consistent with the variability in surface mass balance obtained from core stratigraphy (Gow, 1968), and are used in a discussion of the difficulties encountered with the deep "Byrd" station core in detecting annual layering by the stable oxygen-isotope ratio and the microparticle concentration techniques. The recognition of annual layers by these techniques requires that the snows of certain seasons be present in the measured section, but near "Byrd" station the microrclief is such that summer snow layers are not horizontally continuous and may be absent from a given section. At other sites on ice sheets, where the microrelief is less (less wind activity) or where the surface mass balance is larger, or both, less difficulty is anticipated in using the stable oxygen-isotope ratio and micro-particle-concentration techniques to identify annual layers.

Résumé

La variabilité locale des bilans superficiels (accumulation nette de neige) du glacier supérieur de la station "Byrd" dans l'Antarctique est due à l'effet combiné des variations du "climat" d'une année à l'autre et du micro-relief superficiel engendré par les congères et les zastrougi. Ces variabilités sont cohérentes avec la variabilité dans les bilans superficiels obtenus par stratigraphie des carottes prélevées (Gow, 1968); on les utilise pour discuter les difficultés rencontrées dans les carottes profondes de station "Byrd" pour détecter la stratification annuelle par les techniques de la teneur en oxygène stable isotopique et de la concentration en microparticules. La reconnaissance des couches annuelles par ces techniques nécessite que les neiges de certaines saisons soient réellement présentes dans la section mesurée, mais près de la station "Byrd", te microrelief est tel que les couches de neige de l'été ne sont pas continues horizontalement et peuvent être absentes de certains points. Sur d'autres sites de calottes glaciaires dont le microrelief est moindre (moindre activité du vent) ou dont le bilan superficiel est plus fort, ou les deux, on escompte moins de difficultés pour utiliser les techniques de la teneur en oxygène isotopique stable ou de la concentration en microparticules pour identifier les couches annuelles.

Zusammenfassung

Die lokalen Schwankungen der Massenbilanz (Netto-Schneeakkumulation) an der Oberflàche gletscheraufwàrts von der "Byrd"-Station, Antarktis. werden durch die kombinierte Wîrkung von jahrliche Klimaunter-schieden und der Schneedrift sowic Sastrugibiklung in Abhangigkeit vom Mikrorelief der Oberflàche verursacht. Dièse Schwankungen stimmen mit denen der Massenbilanz an der Oberflache $$ uberein, die aus der Stratigraphie von Bohrkernen ermittelt wurden (Gow, 1968), und werden y.ur Klârung der Schwierig-keiten herangezogen, die bei der Feststellung von Jahresschichten am Kern der Tiefbohrung an der "Byrd"-Station mit Hilfe des Verhâltnisses der stabilen Sauerstoff-Isotope und der Konzentration an Mikropartikoln auftratcn. Die Feststcllung von Jahresschichten mit diesen Verfahren erfordert das Vorhandensein des Sconces bestimmter Jahreszeiten im untersuchten Abschnitt; bei der "Byrd"-Station ist das Mikrorelief der Oberflàche jedoch so gestaltct, dass die Schichten des Sommerschnees horizontal nicht kontinuierlich sind und deshalb in trineni bestimmten Abschnitt fehlcn konnen. An anderen Stellen von Eisschilden mit weniger ausgepragtem Mikrorelief (geringerer VV'indcinwirkung) oder mit grrisscrer Massenbilanz an der Oberflàche oder mit beidein dïirflen die Schwicrigkeiten bei der Feststcllung von Jahresschichten aus dem Verhàltnis der stabilen Sauerstoff-Isotope und aus der Konzentration an Mikropartikcln geringer sein.

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Copyright

Footnotes

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Contribution No. 335 of the Institute of Polar Studies, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210, U.S.A.

Footnotes

References

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Cameron, R. L, 1971. Glaciological studies at Byrd station. Antarctica, 1963-1965. (In Crary, A. P. ed Antarctic snow and ice studies II. Washington, D.C. American Geophysical Union, p. 317–32. (Antarctic Research Series, Vol. 16.))
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Surface Mass-Balance Variability Near “Byrd” Station, Antarctica, and its Importance to Ice Core Stratigraphy *

  • I. M. Whillans (a1)

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