Ice Core Records of Recent Northwest Greenland Climate

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Erich C Osterberg1, Gifford J Wong1, David Ferris1, Eric Lutz1, Jennifer A Howley1, Meredith A Kelly1, Yarrow Axford2 and Robert L Hawley1, (1)Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, United States, (2)Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, United States
Meteorological station data from NW Greenland indicate a 3oC temperature rise since 1990, with most of the warming occurring in fall and winter. According to remote sensing data, the NW Greenland ice sheet (GIS) and coastal ice caps are responding with ice mass loss and margin retreat, but the cryosphere’s response to previous climate variability is poorly constrained in this region. We are developing multi-proxy records (lake sediment cores, ice cores, glacial geologic data, glaciological models) of Holocene climate change and cryospheric response in NW Greenland to improve projections of future ice loss and sea level rise in a warming climate. As part of our efforts to develop a millennial-length ice core paleoclimate record from the Thule region, we collected and analyzed snow pit samples and short firn cores (up to 21 m) from the coastal region of the GIS (2Barrel site; 76.9317o N, 63.1467o W, 1685 m el.) and the summit of North Ice Cap (76.938o N, 67.671o W, 1273 m el.) in 2011, 2012 and 2014. The 2Barrel ice core record has statistically significant relationships with regional spring and fall Baffin Bay sea ice extent, summertime temperature, and annual precipitation. Here we evaluate relationships between the 2014 North Ice Cap firn core glaciochemical record and climate variability from regional instrumental stations and reanalysis datasets. We compare the coastal North Ice Cap record to more inland records from 2Barrel, Camp Century and NEEM to evaluate spatial and elevational gradients in recent NW Greenland climate change.