The Epica Dome C Ice Core Environmental Sciences Essay

Ice nucleuss are an of import record in palaeoclimate Reconstruction ; they provide a record of multiple parametric quantities from a individual location. Ice nucleuss are predominately drilled from Polar Regions ; Antarctica and Greenland.

Ice nucleuss are normally drilled from stable domes, this minimises horizontal flow and thaw. EPICA Dome C is presently the oldest nucleus, 800kyr, and entering alterations in the ambiance over 8 glacial rhythms. Vostok nucleus is 400kyr. Comparing subdivisions of the nucleus enables them to be dated and compared and verified.

Ice nucleuss from Greenland cover a shorter clip interval, back to 105kyr ; this is due to higher snow accretion rates. Comparing the ice nucleuss from Greenland and Antarctica shows that alteration in C dioxide is globally and coincides with planetary temperature alteration.

There are future undertakings to increase the ice nucleus database back to 150kyr to see if the glacial rhythms go on on the same clip graduated table. There is a current international undertaking to make a database of ice nucleuss over the past 40kyr, due to many important clime events ( D-O events and the last expiration ) . The IPCC wants to make a database for ice nucleuss over the past 2000 old ages to measure natural clime variableness pre industrialisation.


Ice nucleuss are a alone paleoclimate record for the Quaternary ; they have a really high clip declaration record of many different parametric quantities recorded at a individual location. Ice cores contain a valuable archive: hint gases of air bubbles within the ice is a direct sample of the paleo air, aerosol and soluble gases trapped with the surface snow at the clip of deposition. The O isotope ratio of the ice itself is used to cipher past temperatures and precipitation sums.

Ice nucleuss are preponderantly drilled in Polar Regions ( some have been drilled at high lifts such as on the Mt. Kilimanjaro ice field, Thompson et al. , 2002. ) Ice nucleuss are normally drilled from ice sheets, from the top of the highest ice domes, here the ice flow towards the ice border is minimised, the chief flow way is towards the inside, as a consequence the ice is stretched and thinned vertically but non melted or displaced horizontally ( Orombelli et al. , 2010 )

This reappraisal analyses the importance of the deep nucleuss from both Antarctica and Greenland, shown in fig. 1.


Ice nucleuss are drilled for different grounds ; the location of the boring site is determined by topography, snow accretion rates and ice flow. Some nucleuss are drilled to acquire a high declaration record of a peculiar clip period, EPICA Dronning Maud Land Core ( Wolff, 2006 ) , other nucleuss are drilled to analyze as far back as possible such as EPICA Dome C and Vostok nucleuss ( Wolff et al. , 2010 ; Petit et al. , 1999 ) .

Once drilled an ice nucleus can be analysed for multiple parametric quantities, summarised in table 1. Ice nucleuss are normally dated by bed numeration of one-year sets, flow modeling, orbital tuning and correlating marker skylines, such as volcanic eruptions and magnetic reversals ( Lemieux-Dudon et al. , 2009 ) . The greater the deepness of the nucleus the harder the analysis, the beds are much dilutant ( due to flux towards the inside ) thaw and refreezing besides occurs at the base due to overburden force per unit area, hence in deep nucleuss it is improbable that the full nucleus will be able to be analysed to the bedrock ( Petit et al. , 1999 ) .


Proxy or direct sample


Water composing


The I?18O value can be straight related to temperature and sum of snowfall.

Atmospheric gas Bubbles


Air bubbles incorporate a record of stable gases in the air: N, O, C dioxide, Ar, methane. There is a few old ages clip slowdown seen for the snow to compact and keep the air.

Tellurian Material


Derived from dirt and mineral dust.

Calcium is normally used ( with a rectification made for sea salt input )

( Lambert et al. , 2008 )

Marine aerosol


Derived from salt H2O

Na used as a placeholder, ( rectification made for sea salt input. )

( Legrand et al. , 1996 )

Biogenic Sulphur


Both Methanesulphate and sulfate are derived from marine algae.

( Wolff et al. , 2010 )

Volcanic Material


Large volcanic eruptions that emit SO2into the stratosphere leave a signature sulfate spike ( Castellano et al. , 2004 )

Tephra beds are on occasion found ( Narcisi et al. , 2005 ) .

Volacnic stuff is of import for globally correlating and dating ice nucleuss.

Cosmogenic stuff


10Be is straight related to the sum of cosmologic activity.

10Be is of import for globally correlating and dating ice nucleuss.

( Raisbeck et al. , 2006 )



The Deuterium, D ratio relevant to 1H I?D, can be used as a placeholder for lift and humidness. ( Stenni et al. , 2009 )



Pollen found in ice nucleus can be matched to suit an environment, this gives farther item of the beginning ( of air current ) part.

( Bourgeois et al. , 2000 )

Table 1: Summary of the parametric quantities that can be analysed from a individual ice nucleus. The bulk of these parametric quantities are a direct sample method instead than proxy derived ; this is alone for the ice nucleus record.

Antarctica Ice Cores

Figure 1: Location of rule ice nucleus boring sites, contour lines show snow accretion rates.

A ) Antarctica ; European Project for Ice Core boring in Antarctica ( EPICA ) Dronning Maud Land ( DML ) , Dome Fuji ( Dome F ) , Vostok, Berkner Island, Byrd, Talos Dome, Taylor Dome, EPICA Dome C ( DC ) .

B ) Greenland ; Camp Century, North Greenland Ice nucleus Project ( NGRIP ) , Greenland Ice nucleus Project ( GRIP ) , Greenland Ice Sheet Project 2 ( GISP2 ) , Renland, Distance Early Warning 3 ( Dye 3 ) From Orombelli et al. , 2010


The Vostok nucleus was drilled to 3623m ( Petit et al. , 1999 ) ; functional nucleus can be correlated back to the Middle Pleistocence ( 420kyr ) , fig. 2.Until 2006 the Vostok was the oldest and deepest nucleus. Vostok is an of import record because the perturbations at the base are minimum and the relationship between isotope fractional process and temperature is simple and good known this makes the isotopic record easy to interpret into paleoclimate informations. The Vostok nucleus has been strongly correlated with the marine I?18O record by Lisiecki & A ; Raymo, 2005.

Fuji Dome

Fuji Dome nucleus was drilled to a deepness of 2503.5m and 330kyr. Despite being drilled in the north E of Antarctica, fig. 1, the record, ( particularly the I?Drecord ) is strongly comparable to the Vostok nucleus ( Wolffe, 2006 ) . The Dome Fuji record shows multiple excess tellurian skylines, these are strongly linked meteorologic impacts ( Misawa et al. , 2010 )

EPICA Dronning Maud Land ( DML )

An EPICA ice nucleus drilled from the Dronning Maud Land sector of Antarctica, ( fig. 1 ) the deepest subdivision of the nucleus is dated at Middle Pleistocene, fig. 2. The nucleus was drilled to bring forth a high-resolution record of at least one glacial-interglacial rhythm in the sector of Antarctica confronting the Atlantic Ocean for comparing with Greenland ice nucleus records. This site was chosen as there is high one-year snowfall and a strong sensitiveness to alterations in the South Atlantic. By comparing this record with the Greenland Ice cores the nexus between ocean circulation and temperature fluctuations can be studied, the consequences show a strong nexus between alterations in the temperature and green house gas composing ( Siegenthaler et al. , 2005 )


The European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica ( EPICA ) drilled nucleus from Dome C, fig.1. Dome C was chosen as it is centred on a stable dome which has comparatively little sums of ice flow and the site isolated from local Marine and tellurian inputs, therefore acts as regional signal.

EPICA Dome C is presently the deepest and oldest ice nucleus, 3259m it goes back to the lower Pleistocene, ( 800kyr ) fig. 2. ( Wolff et al. , 2009 ) , this was dated by the Matuyama-Brunhes geomagnetic reversal, Raisbeck et al. , 2006 ) this reversal is non present in any other ice nucleus to day of the month. The EPICA Dome C nucleus was drilled as there was a immense involvement from modelers to foretell pre-Vostok CO2 concentrations, to enable theoretical accounts to be calibrated farther back in clip. The lowest 60m of the nucleus is considered stratigraphically diverge due to refreezing of the ice ( Jouzel et al. , 2007 )

The nucleus records 8 glacial rhythms. These glacial rhythms show fluctuations every 100kyr, similar to what was expected from Marine nucleus grounds ( Wolff, 2006 ) . The isotopic I?D records are closely matched with the marine benthic record back to 800kyr. Masson-Delmotte et al. , 2006, used the I?D record of EPICA Dome C and clime theoretical accounts to reason that the alterations in the Earth ‘s Obliquity are a major driver in clime fluctuation.

The flux in tellurian dust at Dome C is shown to be 10 times greater in glacial periods, this is non seen in other shorter nucleuss, suggests that the immense alterations in dust flux are preponderantly linked to alterations in the beginning part, South America ( Wolff et al. , 2009 ) . The Dome C record represents the input map for dust in the Southern Ocean, the dramatic alterations in dust flux changes the alimentary content of the Southern Ocean which in bend consequence the biological segregation of CO2 and therefore act as a positive feedback mechanism ( Sigman et al. , 2010 )

The sea salt flux seen in the Dome C nucleus is used as a placeholder for alterations in sea ice extent, the record suggests that during cold periods there was more ice, this is compatible with the marine deposit record ( Wolff et al. , 2010 )

The EPICA Dome C sulfate flux varies really little over 800kyr A±20 % ( Wolff et al. , 2010 ) this suggests that the biological production has remained comparatively changeless ; this besides suggests that the conveyance mechanisms ( air currents ) of the sulfate has remained changeless.

Dome C is the lone ice nucleus to enter the alterations around MIS 11 ( 400kyr ) , it is thought to be the closest parallel to the rapid warming go oning at nowadays in the Holocene, and hence there is strong involvement in this nucleus from the clime alteration community.

Fig. 2. Ice nucleuss from Antarctica and Greenland with divided into chronostratigraphic units of the Quaternary and Thickness of. EPICA DC is the merely nucleus to widen back to the Lower Pleistocene.

Greenland Ice nucleuss

Ice nucleuss in the Northern Hemisphere are concentrated in Greenland ice sheet, shown in fig. 1. In comparing to Antarctica the snow accretion rates are higher ; as a consequence the ice cores merely widen back until 105kyr ( NGRIP ) this is well shorter clip period than the Antarctica nucleuss.

The deep ice nucleuss in Greenland are used to correlate northern hemisphere glacial-interglacial events and rapid clime alterations such as Dansgaard-Oeschger ( D-O ) events.

Comparing Ice nucleuss from both hemisphere shows that over clip, the two periods with crisp CO2 rises are linked to rapid planetary heating events seen in both sets of nucleuss, this is consistent that temperature and CO2 operate as a positive feedback mechanism. The EPICA DML nucleus shows a correlativity between both hemispheres, this is thought to be linked by alterations in the Atlantic.

Future work and chances

Before 800kyr the glacial signal in the Marine record varies every 40kyr ( Wolff, 2006 ) , there is a strong involvement in boring another nucleus to travel back to this clip, to see if the alterations in glacial rhythms are linked to alterations in C dioxide fluctuations. EPICA Dome C would be an of import tool for dating and correlating a new older nucleus.

There is presently an ongoing undertaking in both Polar Regions ; this includes Talos Dome and Berkner Island, fig. 1. This undertakings aims at making a web covering 40kyr, this is peculiarly of import as this clip period shows many of import climatic events ; D-O events and the last expiration. A planetary database may be able to demo if the events are synchronised and may let farther probe to the green house gas clime alteration feedback or cause mechanism.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ( IPCC ) are building a web of ice nucleuss to retrace natural clime variableness, they are concentration on nucleuss 2000years old ( IPCC, 2001 ) ; deep nucleuss may supply a much longer record but they besides have this 2000 twelvemonth clip interval.


Ice nucleuss are a critical tool for palaeoclimate research. EPICA Dome C is presently the oldest ice nucleus and as a consequence of import as it has the oldest grounds of clime fluctuation within the ice nucleus record.

However, EPICA Dome C can non be entirely used, other ice nucleuss, such as Vostok and Dome Fuji are used to correlate and help in dating and correlating events. Ice cores record information from one location, therefore can be bias towards local intervention. To set up if a signature is planetary, events need to be correlated widely with other nucleuss, coupled analyses of the Antarctic and Greenland ice nucleuss allows this.