Articles | Volume 8, issue 1
Clim. Past, 8, 135–147, 2012
Clim. Past, 8, 135–147, 2012

Research article 19 Jan 2012

Research article | 19 Jan 2012

Change in dust variability in the Atlantic sector of Antarctica at the end of the last deglaciation

A. Wegner1, P. Gabrielli2,3, D. Wilhelms-Dick1,*, U. Ruth4, M. Kriews1, P. De Deckker5, C. Barbante2,6, G. Cozzi2,6, B. Delmonte7, and H. Fischer1,8,9 A. Wegner et al.
  • 1Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Am Alten Hafen 26, 27568 Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 2Institute for the Dynamics of Environmental Processes, CNR, 30123 Venice, Italy
  • 3School of Earth Science and Byrd Polar Research Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210-1002, USA
  • 4Climate Analysis and Consulting, Pfullingen, Germany
  • 5Research School of Earth Sciences, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia
  • 6Department of Environmental Sciences, University Ca' Foscari of Venice, Dorsoduro 2137, 30123 Venice, Italy
  • 7DISAT – Department Environmental Sciences, University Milano Bicocca, 20126, Milan, Italy
  • 8Climate and Environmental Physics, Physics Institute, University of Bern, Sidlerstrasse 5, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
  • 9Oeschger Institute for Climate Change Research, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
  • *now at: University of Bremen, Klagenfurter Strasse, Bremen, Germany

Abstract. We present a Rare Earth Elements (REE) record determined on the EPICA ice core drilled at Dronning Maud Land (EDML) in the Atlantic sector of the East Antarctic Plateau. The record covers the transition from the last glacial stage (LGS) to the early Holocene (26 600–7500 yr BP) at decadal to centennial resolution. Additionally, samples from potential source areas (PSAs) for Antarctic dust were analyzed for their REE characteristics. The dust provenance is discussed by comparing the REE fingerprints in the ice core and the PSA samples. We find a shift in variability in REE composition at ~15 000 yr BP in the ice core samples. Before 15 000 yr BP, the dust composition is very uniform and its provenance was most certainly dominated by a South American source. After 15 000 yr BP, multiple sources such as Australia and New Zealand become relatively more important, although South America remains the major dust source. A similar change in the dust characteristics was observed in the EPICA Dome C ice core at around ~15 000 yr BP, accompanied by a shift in the REE composition, thus suggesting a change of atmospheric circulation in the Southern Hemisphere.