23 Dec 2022
23 Dec 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal CP.

An age scale for new climate records from Sherman Island, West Antarctica

Isobel Rowell1, Helena Pryer1, Carlos Martin2, Dieter Tetzner2, Emily Doyle1, Robert Mulvaney2, and Eric Wolff1 Isobel Rowell et al.
  • 1Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3EQ
  • 2British Antarctic Survey, High Cross, Madingley Road, Cambridge, CB3 0ET

Abstract. Few ice cores from the Amundsen and Bellingshausen Sea sectors of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) extend back in time further than a few hundred years. The WAIS is believed to be susceptible to collapse as a result of anthropogenic climate change and may have at least partially collapsed in the past. Understanding the stability of the WAIS during warm periods such as the LIG and Holocene is important. As part of the WACSWAIN project, the British Antarctic Survey's (BAS) Rapid Access Isotope Drill (RAID) was deployed in 2020 on Sherman Island in the Abbott Ice Shelf. We drilled a 323 m deep borehole, with discrete samples of ice chippings collected covering the entire depth range of the drilled ice. The samples were analysed for stable water isotope composition and major ion content at BAS from 2020–2022. Using annual layer counting of chemical records, volcanic horizon identification and modelling, an age scale for the record of 1724 discrete samples is presented. The Sherman Island ice record extends back to greater than 1150 years before present, providing the oldest, continuous, ice-derived palaeoclimate records for the coastal Amundsen-Bellingshausen Sea sectors to date. We demonstrate the potential for recovery of a complete Holocene climate record from Sherman Island in the future, and confidence in the ability of RAID samples to contain sufficiently resolved records for meaningful climatic interpretation.

Isobel Rowell et al.

Status: open (until 17 Feb 2023)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on cp-2022-95', Pete D. Akers, 02 Feb 2023 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on cp-2022-95', Anonymous Referee #2, 03 Feb 2023 reply

Isobel Rowell et al.

Isobel Rowell et al.


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Short summary
We present an age scale for a new type of ice core, from a vulnerable region in the West Antarctic which is lacking in longer term (greater than a few centuries) ice core records. The Sherman Island core extends to greater than 1000 years before present. We provide modelling evidence for the potential of a 10000-year long core. We show that this new type of ice core can be robustly dated and that climate records from this core will be a significant addition to existing regional climate records.