Articles | Volume 19, issue 3
Research article
 | Highlight paper
15 Mar 2023
Research article | Highlight paper |  | 15 Mar 2023

The new Kr-86 excess ice core proxy for synoptic activity: West Antarctic storminess possibly linked to Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) movement through the last deglaciation

Christo Buizert, Sarah Shackleton, Jeffrey P. Severinghaus, William H. G. Roberts, Alan Seltzer, Bernhard Bereiter, Kenji Kawamura, Daniel Baggenstos, Anaïs J. Orsi, Ikumi Oyabu, Benjamin Birner, Jacob D. Morgan, Edward J. Brook, David M. Etheridge, David Thornton, Nancy Bertler, Rebecca L. Pyne, Robert Mulvaney, Ellen Mosley-Thompson, Peter D. Neff, and Vasilii V. Petrenko

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Cited articles

Anderson, R. F., Ali, S., Bradtmiller, L. I., Nielsen, S. H. H., Fleisher, M. Q., Anderson, B. E., and Burckle, L. H.: Wind-Driven Upwelling in the Southern Ocean and the Deglacial Rise in Atmospheric CO2, Science, 323, 1443–1448, 2009. 
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Bals-Elsholz, T. M., Atallah, E. H., Bosart, L. F., Wasula, T. A., Cempa, M. J., and Lupo, A. R.: The Wintertime Southern Hemisphere Split Jet: Structure, Variability, and Evolution, J. Climate, 14, 4191–4215, 2001. 
Battle, M. O., Severinghaus, J. P., Sofen, E. D., Plotkin, D., Orsi, A. J., Aydin, M., Montzka, S. A., Sowers, T., and Tans, P. P.: Controls on the movement and composition of firn air at the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 11007–11021,, 2011. 
Bender, M., Sowers, T., and Lipenkov, V.: On the concentrations of O2, N2, and Ar in trapped gases from ice cores, J. Geophys. Res., 100, 18651–18660, 1995. 
This paper presents a new proxy application of permanent gas isotopes in ice core research based on the kinetic fractionation of gases in the firn column of polar ice sheets (offset from the diffusive equilibrium profile) which may be induced by synoptic atmospheric pressure variations at the surface. Although still exploratory in nature, this new proxy would allow to reconstruct changes in mean synoptic activity for different climate states based on ice core data.
Short summary
It is unclear how different components of the global atmospheric circulation, such as the El Niño effect, respond to large-scale climate change. We present a new ice core gas proxy, called krypton-86 excess, that reflects past storminess in Antarctica. We present data from 11 ice cores that suggest the new proxy works. We present a reconstruction of changes in West Antarctic storminess over the last 24 000 years and suggest these are caused by north–south movement of the tropical rain belt.