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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2017-21
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
24 Feb 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC).
The influence of the synoptic regime on stable water isotopes in precipitation at Dome C, East Antarctica
Elisabeth Schlosser1,2, Anna Dittmann1, Barbara Stenni3, Jordan G. Powers4, Kevin W. Manning4, Valérie Masson-Delmotte5, Mauro Valt6, Anselmo Cagnati6, Paolo Grigioni7, and Claudio Scarchilli7 1Inst. of Atmospheric and Cryospheric Sciences, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
2Austrian Polar Research Institute, Vienna, Austria
3Department of Environmental Sciences, Informatics and Statistics, Ca 'Foscari University of Venice, Venice, Italy
4National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, USA
5Laboratoire des Sciences du Climate et de l'Environnement, Gif-sur-Yvette, France
6ARPA Center of Avalanches, Arabba, Italy
7Laboratory for Observations and Analyses of the Earth and Climate, ENEA, Rome, Italy
Abstract. The correct derivation of paleotemperatures from ice cores requires exact knowledge of all processes involved before and after the deposition of snow and consecutive formation of ice. At the Antarctic deep ice core drilling site Dome C, a unique data set of daily precipitation amount, type and stable water isotope ratios is available that enables us to study atmospheric processes that influence the stable water isotope ratio of precipitation in detail. Meteorological data from both automatic weather station and a mesoscale atmospheric model were used to investigate how different atmospheric flow patterns determine the precipitation parameters. A classification of synoptic situations that cause precipitation at Dome C was established and, together with back-trajectory calculations, was utilized to estimate moisture source areas. With the resulting source area conditions (wind speed, sea surface temperature (SST) and relative humidity) as input, the precipitation stable isotopic composition was modelled using the so-called Mixed Cloud Isotope Model (MCIM). The model generally underestimates the depletion of 18O in precipitation. It was shown that, contrary to the assumption widely used in ice core studies, a more northern moisture source does not necessarily mean stronger isotopic fractionation. This is due to the fact that snowfall events at Dome C are often associated with warm air advection due to amplification of planetary waves, which considerably increases the site temperature and thus reduces the temperature difference between source area and deposition site. Also, no correlation was found between relative humidity at the moisture source and the deuterium excess in precipitation. The significant difference in the isotopic signal of hoar frost and diamond dust was shown to disappear after removal of seasonality.

Citation: Schlosser, E., Dittmann, A., Stenni, B., Powers, J. G., Manning, K. W., Masson-Delmotte, V., Valt, M., Cagnati, A., Grigioni, P., and Scarchilli, C.: The influence of the synoptic regime on stable water isotopes in precipitation at Dome C, East Antarctica, The Cryosphere Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2017-21, in review, 2017.
Elisabeth Schlosser et al.
Elisabeth Schlosser et al.
Elisabeth Schlosser et al.

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Short summary
To derive paleotemperatures from ice cores we must know all processes involved in ice formation. At the Antarctic base Dome C, a unique precipitation data set plus stable water isotope data enabled us to study atmospheric processes influencing isotope ratios of precipitation in detail. Meteorological data from both automatic weather station and an atmospheric model were used to investigate how different atmospheric flow patterns determine the precipitation parameters used in paleoclimatology.
To derive paleotemperatures from ice cores we must know all processes involved in ice formation....
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