Articles | Volume 8, issue 6
Research article
20 Nov 2012
Research article |  | 20 Nov 2012

Duration of Greenland Stadial 22 and ice-gas Δage from counting of annual layers in Greenland NGRIP ice core

P. Vallelonga, G. Bertagna, T. Blunier, H. A. Kjær, T. J. Popp, S. O. Rasmussen, J. P. Steffensen, C. Stowasser, A. S. Svensson, E. Warming, M. Winstrup, M. Bigler, and S. Kipfstuhl

Abstract. High-resolution measurements of chemical impurities and methane concentrations in Greenland ice core samples from the early glacial period allow the extension of annual-layer counted chronologies and the improvement of gas age-ice age difference (Δage) essential to the synchronization of ice core records. We report high-resolution measurements of a 50 m section of the NorthGRIP ice core and corresponding annual layer thicknesses in order to constrain the duration of the Greenland Stadial 22 (GS-22) between Greenland Interstadials (GIs) 21 and 22, for which inconsistent durations and ages have been reported from Greenland and Antarctic ice core records as well as European speleothems. Depending on the chronology used, GS-22 occurred between approximately 89 (end of GI-22) and 83 kyr b2k (onset of GI-21). From annual layer counting, we find that GS-22 lasted between 2696 and 3092 years and was followed by a GI-21 pre-cursor event lasting between 331 and 369 yr. Our layer-based counting agrees with the duration of stadial 22 as determined from the NALPS speleothem record (3250 ± 526 yr) but not with that of the GICC05modelext chronology (2620 yr) or an alternative chronology based on gas-marker synchronization to EPICA Dronning Maud Land ice core. These results show that GICC05modelext overestimates accumulation and/or underestimates thinning in this early part of the last glacial period. We also revise the possible ranges of NorthGRIP Δdepth (5.49 to 5.85 m) and Δage (498 to 601 yr) at the warming onset of GI-21 as well as the Δage range at the onset of the GI-21 precursor warming (523 to 654 yr), observing that temperature (represented by the δ15N proxy) increases before CH4 concentration by no more than a few decades.