Journal cover Journal topic
The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
doi:10.5194/tc-2016-298
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
24 Jan 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC).
New insights into the climatic signal from firn cores at the northern Antarctic Peninsula
Francisco Fernandoy1, Dieter Tetzner2, Hanno Meyer3, Guisella Gacitúa4, Kirstin Hoffmann3, and Ulrike Falk5 1Facultad de Ingenieria, Universidad Andres Bello, Viña del Mar, 2531015, Chile
2Center for Climate and Resilience Research, University of Chile, Santiago, 8370361, Chile
3Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Research Unit Potsdam, Telegrafenberg A43, 14473 Potsdam, Germany
4Programa GAIA-Antártica, Universidad de Magallanes, Punta Arenas, 6210427, Chile
5Climate Lab, Geography Depart., University Bremen, 28334 Bremen, Germany
Abstract. The Antarctic Peninsula is one of the most challenging regions of Antarctica from a climatological perspective, owing to the recent atmospheric and oceanic warming. The steep topography and a lack of long–term and in situ meteorological observations complicate extrapolation of existing climate models to the sub-regional scale. Here, we present new evidence from the northern Antarctic Peninsula to demonstrate how stable water isotopes of firn cores and recent precipitation samples can reveal climatic processes related to nearby oceanic and atmospheric conditions. A noticeable effect of the sea ice cover on local temperatures and atmospheric modes, in particular the Southern Annular Mode (SAM), is demonstrated. In years with large sea ice extension in winter (negative SAM anomaly), an inversion layer in the lower troposphere develops at the coastal zone. Therefore, an isotope–temperature relationship valid for all seasons cannot be concluded. The δ–T relationship rather depends on seasonal variability of oceanic conditions. Transitional seasons (autumn and spring) are both stable seasons with an isotope–temperature gradient of +0.69 ‰ °C−1. The firn stable isotope composition reveals that the near–surface temperature at the Antarctic Peninsula shows a decreasing trend (−0.33 °C y−1) between 2008 and 2014. Moreover, the deuterium excess (dexcess) has been demonstrated to be a reliable indicator of seasonal oceanic conditions, and therefore suitable to improve a firn age model based on seasonal dexcess variability. The annual accumulation rate in this region is highly variable, ranging between 1060 kg m−2 y−1 and 2470 kg m−2 y−1 from 2008 to 2014. The combination of isotopic and meteorological data is key for reconstructing recent climatic conditions with a high temporal resolution in polar regions where no direct observation exists

Citation: Fernandoy, F., Tetzner, D., Meyer, H., Gacitúa, G., Hoffmann, K., and Falk, U.: New insights into the climatic signal from firn cores at the northern Antarctic Peninsula, The Cryosphere Discuss., doi:10.5194/tc-2016-298, in review, 2017.
Francisco Fernandoy et al.
Francisco Fernandoy et al.

Data sets

High resolution stable water isotope composition (d18O and dD) of two firn cores at the northern Antarctic Peninsula
F. Fernandoy, D. Tetzner, H. Meyer, G. Gacitúa, K. Hoffmann, and U. Falk
https://doi.pangaea.de/10.1594/PANGAEA.871083
High resolution stable water isotope composition (d18O and dD) of three firn cores and on precipitation from O'Higgins Station, Antarctica, 2008–2009
F. Fernandoy, H. Meyer, and M. Tonelli
https://doi.pangaea.de/10.1594/PANGAEA.871080
Francisco Fernandoy et al.

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Short summary
Through the geochemical analysis of the surface snow of a glacier at the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, we aimed to investigate how atmosphere and ocean conditions of the surrounding region are varying under the present climate scenario. We found that meteorological conditions strongly depend on the extension of sea ice. Our results evidence a slight cooling of the surface air during the last decade at this site. However, the general warming tendency for the region is still on-going.
Through the geochemical analysis of the surface snow of a glacier at the northern tip of the...
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