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Schlosser, Elisabeth; Dittmann, Anna; Stenni, Barbara; Powers, Jordan G.; Manning, Kevin W.; Masson-Delmotte, Valérie; Valt, Mauro; Cagnati, Anselmo; Grigioni, Paolo; Scarchilli, Claudio (2017)
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects:
The correct derivation of paleotemperatures from ice cores requires exact knowledge of all processes involved before and after the deposition of snow and consecutive formation of ice. At the Antarctic deep ice core drilling site Dome C, a unique data set of daily precipitation amount, type and stable water isotope ratios is available that enables us to study atmospheric processes that influence the stable water isotope ratio of precipitation in detail. Meteorological data from both automatic weather station and a mesoscale atmospheric model were used to investigate how different atmospheric flow patterns determine the precipitation parameters. A classification of synoptic situations that cause precipitation at Dome C was established and, together with back-trajectory calculations, was utilized to estimate moisture source areas. With the resulting source area conditions (wind speed, sea surface temperature (SST) and relative humidity) as input, the precipitation stable isotopic composition was modelled using the so-called Mixed Cloud Isotope Model (MCIM). The model generally underestimates the depletion of 18O in precipitation. It was shown that, contrary to the assumption widely used in ice core studies, a more northern moisture source does not necessarily mean stronger isotopic fractionation. This is due to the fact that snowfall events at Dome C are often associated with warm air advection due to amplification of planetary waves, which considerably increases the site temperature and thus reduces the temperature difference between source area and deposition site. Also, no correlation was found between relative humidity at the moisture source and the deuterium excess in precipitation. The significant difference in the isotopic signal of hoar frost and diamond dust was shown to disappear after removal of seasonality.
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