The 1500m South Pole Ice Core: Recovering a 40,000 year environmental record

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Tom Neumann1, Kimberly Casey2, Tyler J Fudge3, Eric J. Steig4, Eric S Saltzman5, Murat Aydin5, Mark Twickler6 and Joseph M Souney Jr7, (1)NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr., Greenbelt, MD, United States, (2)NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr, Greenbelt, MD, United States, (3)University of Washington Seattle Campus, Seattle, WA, United States, (4)University of Washington, Seattle, WA, United States, (5)University of California Irvine, Irvine, CA, United States, (6)University of New Hampshire Main Campus, Durham, NH, United States, (7)University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, United States
The stable-isotope, aerosol and atmospheric gas records in ice cores provide exceptional archives of past climate. Supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation, a new 1500 m, approximately 40,000 year old ice core will be recovered from South Pole during the current 2014-2015 austral summer season (to ~ 700 m) and next 2015-2016 austral summer season (~ 700 m to 1500 m) using the new U.S. Intermediate Depth Drill. The combination of low temperature, relatively high accumulation rate, and low impurity concentrations at South Pole will yield a detailed record of atmospheric trace gases. The South Pole ice core will also provide a record of the climate history of a unique area of the East Antarctic plateau that is partly influenced by weather systems that cross the West Antarctic ice sheet. The South Pole ice core site is at a flank site where the ice flows at approximately 10 m/yr. The ice core recovered originated as snow at progressively greater distances from the coring site. New ground-penetrating radar collected over the drill site location shows no anthropogenic influence over the past ~50 years or upper 15 m. In this submission, we describe the climate and glaciologic setting of the South Pole, and the details of the ultimate coring site.