Articles | Volume 9, issue 6
Research article
08 Nov 2013
Research article |  | 08 Nov 2013

A new Himalayan ice core CH4 record: possible hints at the preindustrial latitudinal gradient

S. Hou, J. Chappellaz, D. Raynaud, V. Masson-Delmotte, J. Jouzel, P. Bousquet, and D. Hauglustaine

Abstract. Two ice cores recovered from the Himalayan East Rongbuk (ER) Glacier on the northeast saddle of Mt. Qomolangma (Everest) (28°01' N, 86°58' E, 6518 m above sea level) give access to a tentative record of past Himalayan atmospheric mixing ratio of CH4 spanning the past 1200 yr. The major part of the record is affected by artifacts probably due to in situ production. After selecting what may represent the true atmospheric mixing ratio, an average of 749 ± 25 ppbv of CH4 is estimated for the late preindustrial Holocene, which is ~ 36 ± 17 (~ 73 ± 18) ppbv higher than the atmospheric levels recorded in the Greenland (Antarctic) ice cores. A comparison of these new data with model simulations of the CH4 latitudinal gradient suggests either that the models do not get a correct balance between high and low latitude CH4 sources, or that the filtered CH4 profile from the ER cores remains biased by small artifacts.