ESR 10 – Interpretation of the water isotope climate signal on the east Antarctic plateau through continuous measurements of isotopic composition of water vapour, precipitation, surface snow and sub-surface snow

Early stage researcher: Inès Ollivier (Univ. Bergen, NW)

Supervisors: H.C. Steen-Larsen (Univ. of Bergen, NW), B. Stenni (Univ. of Venice, IT)

Academic secondment: Univ. of Venice (IT), CNRS-LSCE (FR)


The water isotope climate record measured in ice cores provide key information about past temperature and atmospheric circulation changes. However, in areas such as the Antarctic plateau where low accumulation causes the snow to exchange with the atmosphere, post-depositional effects are dominating the climate signal. Therefore, in order to be able to accurately use the water isotope proxy record for climate reconstruction from the Beyond EPICA ice core, it is crucial to quantify these processes.

This project will develop laboratory and field experiments to quantify the dominant post-depositional processes relevant for the Beyond EPICA site. The project will specifically focus on: characterizing the transfer functions between temperature and water isotopic composition of water vapor and precipitation on the cold Antarctic plateau; quantifying the post-deposition effects on this site that modify isotopic composition of water from precipitation and water vapour to surface and subsurface snow. Finally, these transfer functions can be implemented in climate models equipped with water isotopes.

The project will collaborate closely with B. Stenni from University of Venice, A. Landais from CNRS-LSCE at Université Paris-Saclay, and the International Atomic Energy Agency

Key words: Water isotopes, Surface Processes, Climate reconstruction, Ice cores, Field and laboratory experiments, Proxy transfer functions, water vapor

Credit: H.C. Steen-Larsen (Univ. Bergen)

Scientific results