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Stable isotope ratios (δ18O and δD) in Antarctic snow and ice are basic proxy indices of climate in ice core studies. The relation between the ratios has important indicative significance for moisture sources. In general, the fractionation characteristics of the two isotopes vary with different meteorological and topographical conditions. This paper presents the spatial and temporal distribution of meteoric water line (MWL) slopes along a traverse from the Zhongshan Station (ZSS) to Dome A in East Antarctica. It is found that the slopes decrease with the increasing distance inland from the coast and the lowest slope occurred at Dome A, where the long-range transported moisture dominates and clear sky snowing have an influence. The slopes in different layers of the snowpack showed a decreasing trend with depth and this is attributed to the fractionation during the interstitial sublimation and re-condensation processes of the water vapor. Frost flower development on the interior plateau surface can greatly alter the depth evolution of the MWL slope. The coastal snow pits also go through the post-depositional smoothing effect, but their influences are not so significant as the inland regions.
Western Kunlun Mountain (WKM) glaciers show balanced or even slightly positive mass budgets in the early 21st century, and this is anomalous in a global context of glacier reduction. However, it is unknown whether the stability prevails at longer time scales because mass budgets have been unavailable before 2000. Here topographical maps, Shuttle Radar Topography Mission and Landsat data are used to examine the area and surface elevation changes of glaciers on the WKM since the 1970s. Heterogeneous glacier behaviors are observed not only in the changes of length and area, but also in the spatial distribution of surface elevation changes. However, on average, glacier area and elevation changes are not significant. Glaciers reduce in the area by 0.07 ± 0.1% a−1 from the 1970s to 2016. Averaged glacier mass loss is −0.06 ± 0.13 m w.e. a−1 from the 1970s to 1999. These findings show that the WKM glacier anomaly extends back at least to the 1970s.
Radioisotopes (239Pu, 240Pu, 236U) formed during atmospheric nuclear weapons testing (NWT) can be used for dating and therefore be applied as markers of the beginning of the Anthropocene Epoch. Moreover, 240Pu/239Pu ratios enable source identification (general fallout, local emission sources). Ice core segments from a 57.6 m ice core to bedrock from eastern Tien Shan, China were selected for 239,240Pu and 236U analyses by using compact low-energy accelerator mass spectrometry. The observed 240Pu/239Pu atom ratios were 0.18 ± 0.02, with one exception, indicating global fallout. No evidence for emissions from the nearby local sources Lop Nor was observed. The total deposition rates during NWT for 239Pu and 240Pu amount to 1.55 × 109 atoms·cm−2 and 3.1 × 108 atoms·cm−2, respectively. With the higher undisturbed fallout of 239Pu compared with values reported for glaciers from European Alps at Col du Dome and Colle Gnifetti as well as from the polar region, the eastern Tien Shan glacier would be an ideal site for defining the start of the Anthropocene. 236U is a rather new environmental tracer, while little is known about its global fallout from NWT. The observed deposition flux of 236U during NWT amounts to 3.5 × 108 atoms·cm−2 at the drill site. The average 236U/239Pu ratio of 0.27 ± 0.09 is in good agreement with literature values from global fallout.
A review of Holocene climatic variations in different parts of China shows that they were asynchronous. Proxy data from ice cores, pollen, loess, lacustrine sediments, and changes of sea and lake levels demonstrate that many warm and cold oscillations have occurred in China during the Holocene, including a most important climatic event known as the “Holocene optimum,” a milder and wetter period, and that the duration and amplitude of the optimum period, as well as its start and end times, differed in different parts of China. Uplift of the Tibetan plateau over the past millions of years led to the development of the monsoon climate and to complex atmospheric circulation over continental China during the Holocene. As a result, the Holocene optimum began and terminated earlier in high-altitude regions of western China than at lower elevations in eastern China, and the amplitude of the variations was lower in the east. This suggests that the western higher-altitude areas were more sensitive to climatic change than were the eastern lower-altitude areas. Holocene climatic records in the Dunde and Guliya ice cores do not correspond. Inverse δ18O variations between the two cores indicate that the effects of climate and atmospheric processes on the stable isotopes at the two sites differed. The correlation between the isotopic composition of carbonates in lake deposits in western China and climatic variations is similar to that in the ice cores. The climatic resolution in ice cores and lake sediments is higher than that in other media. The lack of precise correspondence of climatic records constructed on the basis of proxy data from different parts of China is a result of the different locations and elevations of the sampling sites, the different resolutions of the source material, and the varied climatic conditions within China. Further work is needed to confirm both the conclusions and the inferences presented here.
This study presents an arsenic concentration time series from 1964–2009 at Dome Argus, Antarctica. The data show a very large increase in arsenic concentration from the mid-1980s to the late-1990s (by a factor of~22) compared with the values before the mid-1980s. This increase is likely to be related to the increased copper smelting in South America. Arsenic concentration then decreased in the late-1990s, most probably as a result of environmental regulations in South America. The sudden increase in arsenic concentration observed at Dome Argus coincides with similar increases observed at Dome Fuji and in Antarctica Ice Core-6 (IC-6) at the same time, suggesting that arsenic pollution during the period from the mid-1980s to the late-1990s was a regional phenomenon in Antarctica. Investigations of arsenic concentrations at these three Antarctic locations show that, during this time, regional arsenic distribution followed dust transport pathways associated with general climate models with South America as a major source region for the half of Antarctica facing the Atlantic and Indian oceans.
Two ice cores drilled to the bottom were recovered from Miaoergou flat-topped glacier (43°03'19“N, 94°19'21“E; 4512 ma.s.l.), eastern Tien Shan, central Asia, in 2005. A high–resolution record of cadmium was established by applying inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry to one of the ice cores (57.6 m), covering a 228 year period from AD 1776 to 2004. The results showed long-term variations of atmospheric transport and deposition of cadmium at high altitudes. Trend analysis based on the sequential Mann-Kendall test and the analysis of crustal enrichment factors of the cadmium shows that natural contribution, mainly from rock and mineral dust, dominated the atmospheric cycles of cadmium during the period AD 1776–1957, which was confirmed by the significant correlation between the winter North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index and annual cadmium concentration. The concentration of cadmium increased sharply from AD 1957 to 2004, suggesting increasing influence from human activities, such as metals production. The ice–core record indicated increasing atmospheric cadmium pollution in response to rapid economic growth after AD 1957 in the region.
Correlations between a 1000 year record of the major ions in a 108.83 m ice core from East Rongbuk Glacier (28°01’N, 86°58’E; 6518ma.s.l.) on the northeast slope of Qomolangma (Mount Everest) and the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) were examined to investigate possible links between the ice-core records of the southern Tibetan Plateau (TP) and El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). The results show that years with the highest crustal ion concentrations and lowest marine ion concentrations corresponded with a low SOI, and vice versa. Cross wavelet and wavelet coherence analysis between major ion time series and the SOI indicated that there were significant sections with high common power between the major ion time series and the SOI, suggesting a correlation between the ion records of the Qomolangma ice core and ENSO. Further investigation indicated that the higher SOI years corresponded with weaker continental air masses and stronger south Asian monsoons over the southern TP, leading to increased marine ions and decreased continental ions transported to the southern TP. The in-phase surface pressure anomalies of the southern TP and Darwin, Australia, link ENSO and ion transport over the southern TP, and thus suggest a link between aerosol transport over the southern TP and ENSO.
An ice core was extracted from the Zangser Kangri (ZK) ice field in the northern Tibetan Plateau (NTP), a location with limited instrumental and proxy records. In this paper, we present a continuous high–resolution dust concentration time series spanning the period AD 1951-2008 to investigate variations in atmospheric dust loading over the NTP. The results show that atmospheric dust loading exhibited significant decadal variations, with two periods of high dust loading (AD 1959–67 and AD 1979–89) and three periods of relatively low loading (AD 1951-58, AD 1968–78 and AD 1990–2008). The variability of atmospheric dust loading was related to wind speed at 500 hPa over the dust source regions. The winter Arctic Oscillation (AO) index showed a significant negative correlation with the annual dust concentration, implying a possible connection between the winter AO and the atmospheric dust loading over the NTP.
A new physical model of plastic deformation in nanocrystalline (NC) materials with finest grains (whose grain size is 2–4 nm) is suggested and theoretically described. The model represents the effect of the finest grains located at triple junctions on the fracture toughness of NC materials in the case that there are multiple dislocations pile-up at grain boundaries (GBs). The maximum number n of the pile-up dislocations is determined by both the capacity of dislocations emitting associated with the crack propagation and the capacity of dislocations pile-up due to the existence of the finest grains. The calculation indicates that the parameter n increases with increment of the grain size and decreases with the finest grain size increasing. The results theoretically reveal that the triple junctions with finest grains can significantly improve the fracture toughness of NC materials compared with the normal triple junctions in wide ranges of their structural parameters.
In 2005, two ice cores with lengths of 58.7 and 57.6 m respectively to bedrock were recovered from the Miaoergou flat-topped glacier (43°03′19″ N, 94°19′21″ E; 4512 m a.s.l.), eastern Tien Shan. 210Pb dating of one of the ice cores (57.6 m) was performed, and an age of AD 1851 ± 6 at a depth of 35.2 mw.e. was determined. For the period AD 1851-2005, a mean annual net accumulation of 229 ± 7 mm w.e. a–1 was calculated. At the nearby oasis city of Hami (~80 km from the Miaoergou flat-topped glacier) the annual precipitation rate is 38 mm w.e. a–1, hence glacial meltwater is a major water supply for local residents. The surface activity concentration of 210Pbex was found to be ~400 mBq kg–1, which is higher than observed at other continental sites such as Belukha, Russia, and Tsambagarav, Mongolia, which have surface activity concentrations of 280 mBq kg–1. The 210Pb dating agrees well with the chronological sequence deduced from the annual-layer counting resulting from the seasonalities of d18O and trace metals for the period AD 1953-2005, and ^-activity horizons resulting from atmospheric nuclear testing during the period AD 1962-63. We conclude that 210Pb analysis is a suitable method for obtaining a continuous dating of the Miaoergou ice core for ~160 years, which can also be applied to other ice cores recovered from the mountains of western China.
The Asian–Pacific Oscillation (APO) is a climate pattern related to the thermal differences between the Asian continent and the north Pacific. We present a 1000 year record of the major ions in a 108.83 m ice core from east Rongbuk glacier (28°01′ N, 86°58′ E; 6518ma.s.l.) on the northeast slope of Qomolangma (Mount Everest), and discuss its relationship with a 993 year time series of the summer APO index that has been reconstructed from Beijing’s summer temperature (recorded by a stalagmite) and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) index. Empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis shows that crustal major ions (Mg2+, Ca2+, SO42– and NO3–) are highly loaded on EOF1, whereas marine major ions (Cl– and Na+) are highly loaded on EOF2. Higher EOF1 is associated with lower upper-troposphere temperature (UTT) over Mongolia, corresponding to a lower APO index and higher surface pressure. Higher EOF2 is associated with higher UTT over Mongolia, corresponding to a higher APO index and lower surface pressure. The higher burden of major ions and higher summer APO index during the period AD 1000–1323 may be due to drought and warm climate of the major-ion source regions. From AD1323 to 1900, EOF1 and EOF2 do not show a consistent correlation with summer APO index, indicating the complex mechanisms of ion transport over the southern Tibetan Plateau (TP) during this period. After AD 1900, the summer APO index is correlated negatively with EOF1 and positively with EOF2, indicating that ion transport over the southern TP during this period is influenced significantly by the APO. Our examinations of the PDO index and major-ion record show that higher PDO corresponds to higher EOF1 and lower EOF2. This suggests that the correlation between the recorded major-ion concentration and the APO index originates in the seesaw relationship in temperature between the Asian continent and the north Pacific.
In the summer of 2004, a firn profile, 18.3 m long, extending down to glacier ice, was recovered in the accumulation area of the largest glacier, Baishui No. 1, on Yulong mountain, the southernmost glacier-covered area in mainland Eurasia. Multivariate empirical orthogonal function (EOF) and statistical correlation analyses of major-ion data from the profile demonstrate that three distinct types of ionic material contribute to the chemical characteristics of firn in this monsoonal region: material of marine origin, which is transported by the Indian southwest monsoon; crustal materials, which come from local sources; and anthropogenic pollutants, which are produced by industrial and agricultural activities in South Asia. Although the influence of post-depositional processes on the seasonal isotopic and soluble ionic compositions is significant, dust layers in the firn profile are clearly visible. Due to the effects of meltwater percolation, the dust layers generally coincide with late-summer snow surfaces. We therefore use the dust layers, combined with the seasonal variations of electrical conductivity (EC), Ca2+ and Mg2+, to establish a depth/age scale for the firn profile. The reconstructed net accumulation has a significant negative correlation with the temperature at Lijiang, whereas the correlation between the net accumulation and the precipitation amount at Lijiang is weak. Although the δ18O time series of the firn profile was modified significantly by meltwater percolation, the correlation between annual mean δ18O values and the Indian southwest monsoon index (WSI1) is significant. This result suggests that δ18O records from monsoon-influenced temperate glaciers can provide a valuable record of past variations of the Indian southwest monsoon.
In order to improve understanding of spatial and temporal variations of stable isotopes in atmospheric precipitation, snow cover and glacier meltwater in different regions of China, samples were collected for isotopic analysis in four areas: Yulong mountain, Yunnan Himalaya (temperate-glacier area); Samdain Kangsang mountain, Nyainqêntanglha Shan (subpolar-glacier area); the headwater area of the Ürümqi river, Tien Shan (subpolar-glacier area); and Muztag mountain, Pamirs (polar-glacier area). Sampling was undertaken in both summer and winter between 2000 and 2003. The δ18O values show a ‘temperature–altitude effect’ in new winter snow on Yulong mountain, reflecting the condensation and fractionation processes associated with the winter monsoon, but a different, more complex pattern in residual snow deposited during the summer monsoon; this old snow is influenced by the ‘precipitation amount effect’, solar radiation and evaporation, and the water content of the snowpack. The summer precipitation at Samdain Kangsang mountain is associated with the summer monsoon. There is a marked precipitation amount effect during the long passage of the southwest/India monsoon from the distant moisture source to Samdain Kangsang mountain, and the summer precipitation is strongly depleted of the heavy isotope. Above 6000 m, the high radiation flux causes much evaporation from the snow surface. The associated 1 8O enrichment of the snow is reflected in a ‘reverse altitude effect’. The δ18O values in the summer snowpack of the Tien Shan and Muztag mountain decrease with increasing altitude and decreasing air temperature, indicating a temperature–altitude effect. Post-depositional processes cause isotopic changes during the transformation of snow/firn/ice to meltwater; the effects are much stronger at temperate than at polar glaciers. Moreover, changes in the isotopic signal at both temperate and polar glaciers can result from evaporation, sublimation, ablation and drifting.
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