Inferring paleo-accumulation records from ice-core data by an adjoint method: Application to James Ross Island's ice core

Friday, 19 December 2014: 2:40 PM
Carlos Martin1, Robert Mulvaney2, Gudmundur Hilmar Gudmundsson1 and Hugh F J Corr2, (1)NERC British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, CB3, United Kingdom, (2)NERC British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, United Kingdom
Ice cores contain a record of snow precipitation that includes information about past atmospheric circulation and mass imbalance in the polar regions. We present here a novel adjoint method to construct a climatic record by both optimally dating an ice-core and deriving from it a detailed accumulation history. The motivation of our work is the recent application of phase sensitive radar which measures the vertical velocity of an ice column. The velocity is dependent on the history of subsequent snow accumulation, compaction and compression; and it can be incorporated to the inverse problem in order to reduce the uncertainty introduced by ice flow modelling.We first apply our method to synthetic data in order to study its capability and the effect of noise and gaps in the data on retrieved accumulation history. The method is then applied to the ice core retrieved from James Ross Island, Antarctica. We show that the method is robust and that the results depend on quality of the age-depth observations and the derived flow regime around the core site.The method facilitates the incorporation of increasing detail provided by ice-core analysis together with observed full-depth velocity in order to construct a complete climatic record of the polar regions.