Trace Element Determination from the Guliya Ice Core to Characterize Aerosol Deposition over the Western Tibetan Plateau during the Last 500 Years
Abstract:The Tibetan Plateau or Third Pole covers over 5 million km2, and has ~46,000 glaciers that collectively contain one of the Earth's largest stores of fresh water. The Guliya ice cap located in the western Kunlun Shan on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, China, is the largest (> 200 km2) ice cap in the subtropical zone. In 1992, a 308.6 m ice core to bedrock was recovered from the Guliya ice cap. The deepest 20 meters yielded the first record extending back through the last glacial cycle found outside of the Polar Regions.
Because of its continental location on the northwestern side of the Tibetan Plateau, the atmospheric circulation over the Guliya ice cap is dominated by westerly air flow from the Eurasian region. Therefore the site is expected to be unaffected by the fallout of anthropogenic trace metals originating from the inner Asian continent and rather may serve to characterize trace metal emissions from the western countries.
Here we present preliminary results of the determination of 29 trace elements, Rb, Sr, Nb, Mo, Ag, Cd, Sn, Sb, Cs, Ba, Ta, Tl, Pb, Bi, U, Li, Al, Ti, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Ga, Ge, and As, from Guliya ice core samples spanning the period 1500 – 1992 AD at seasonal (1750-1992 AD) and annual (1500-1750 AD) resolution. This Guliya trace element record will complement the developing records from the Dasuopu glacier, central Himalaya, and from the Puruogangri ice cap in the western Tanggula Shan in central Tibetan Plateau, which in contrast to Guliya are influenced by the monsoon. We investigate the possible sources both natural and anthropogenic of atmospheric trace elements and their fluxes over the Tibetan Plateau during the last 500 years.