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Victoria University Antarctic Research Expedition Science and Logistics Reports 2004-05: VUWAE 49

Evans Piedmont Glacier Ice Core Record

Evans Piedmont Glacier Ice Core Record

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To our knowledge the Evans Piedmont Glacier site is, with 380m asl, the lowest elevation site identified for drilling in Antarctica. As such it has the potential to provide a climate record with unprecedented sensitivity for tropospheric climate variability and hereby contributing directly to the discussion on the dominant driving force of Antarctic climate variability [van den Broeke, 2000; Hall and Visbeck, 2002; Thompson and Solomon, 2002; Venegas, 2003].

The Evans Piedmont Glacier is located in the vicinity of the proposed ANDRILL site in 'Granite Harbour', which is expected to provide also a Holocene record. The comparison of the overlap between the two records provides us with the unusual opportunity to distinguish between the terrestrial and marine signal. This will add significantly to the discussion on the relative importance of the Antarctic Circumpolar Wave (ACW, oceanic), Southern Annular Mode (SAM, atmospheric), and El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO, both); their forcing and feedback mechanism. Furthermore, the sub-annual to decadal ice core record from Evans Piedmont Glacier can help to tune the marine Granite Harbour record and potentially provides a record of the final retreat of the Ross/McMurdo Ice Shelf.

The regional climate record contained in the ice will provide background information for the Latitudinal Gradient Project site 'Granite Harbour', especially for temperature, precipitation, sea-ice extent, storminess, seasonality, and snow accumulation. As mentioned before, this will help to determine if the current ecological system found has evolved under prevailing climate, or how much time the ecological system had to adjust to potential climate change in the recent past. In collaboration with the US ITASE effort (a traverse from South Pole to Northern Victoria Land along the plateau side of the Transantarctic Mountains) we aim to provide continentality and elevation gradients, to compliment to our understanding of deep ice core records from the Antarctic interior. Furthermore, the importance of katabatic winds and the intrusion frequency of marine airmasses into the Antarctic interior through time can be established.