Antarctic and Southern Ocean Mineral Dust Aerosol Transport Pathways: Forward-Trajectory Modeling and Source Constraints Derived from the RICE Ice Core

Monday, 15 December 2014
Peter D Neff1,2, Andrea Tuohy1,2, Nancy A.N. Bertler1,2 and Ross Edwards3, (1)Victoria University of Wellington, Antarctic Research Centre, Wellington, New Zealand, (2)GNS Science-Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences Ltd, Lower Hutt, New Zealand, (3)Curtin University, Department of Imaging and Applied Physics, Perth, Australia
Mineral dust fertilization of Southern Ocean surface waters, and mixing with Antarctic deep-water, influences oceanic uptake of atmospheric carbon dioxide and draws down global atmospheric CO2concentration during glacial periods. Quantifying modern variability in dust source and transport strength, especially with respect to high- and low-latitude climate phenomena (e.g. SAM, ENSO), will improve understanding of this important aspect of the global carbon cycle.

Here we present data from a new intermediate-depth, coastal ice core drilled at Roosevelt Island, Antarctica as part of the Roosevelt Island Climate Evolution (RICE) project. Using HySPLIT forward trajectories, climate reanalysis and geochemistry data, this work explores variability in atmospheric transport for modern Southern Hemisphere dust source areas (primarily Australia, southern South America and southern Africa). While New Zealand represents a relatively small dust source at present, it is strongly-connected to the Antarctic due to its position within the circumpolar westerly winds and was a major dust source during the last glacial period. Geochemical data from the RICE ice core (79.36ºS, 161.71ºW, 550 m a.s.l.) are used to constrain sources of dust in this sector. The lanthanide elements—common in crustal material and not susceptible to fractionation—can preserve the signature of their original source material, allowing for characterisation of dust provenance. Initial results suggest that only air trajectories originating in New Zealand regularly reach the Ross Sea, Marie Byrd Land and Roosevelt Island within 3 to 5 days (see Figure 1), a characteristic travel time of suspended dust particles. We discuss estimates of the relative source strength of New Zealand compared with other dust source areas to evaluate its overall contribution.

Figure 1: Daily 96-hour forward trajectories for Southern Hemisphere dust source areas, 2010-2013 (NOAA HySPLIT, NCEP reanalysis). NCEP reanalysis 1980-2010 climatological 500 hPa geopotential height (m) is overlain (50 m contour interval). Dust source areas (circles) and trajectories are colored as follows: southern South America, orange; southern Africa, green; Australia, blue; New Zealand, purple. The RICE ice core is marked by the yellow circle.