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Victoria University Antarctic Research Expedition Science and Logistics Reports 2006-07: VUWAE 51

High resolution snow pit sampling at Whitehall Glacier and Evans Piedmont Glacier

High resolution snow pit sampling at Whitehall Glacier and Evans Piedmont Glacier

At WHG one 4m, one 2m, and two 1m deep snow sequences were sampled at the drilling site to allow high resolution snow analyses. The snow profile was sampled with 1cm resolution for analysis on snow chemistry (Na, Ca, K, Mg, Cl, NO3, SO4, MS, Al, Fe, Si, Sr, Tr, Zn) and isotopic composition (δ18O and δD), dust content and mineralogy (Fig.6). This is necessary as the top 4m are usually of very low density, providing little material to run high resolution analyses.

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The data are used to establish transfer functions between meteorological records and the snow/ice core record, for temperature, precipitation, airmass origin, wind strength and direction, storm frequency, etc. The high sampling resolution provides sub-annual resolution of the climate record. In addition, snow density and temperature was also measured.

This information is important to calculate annual accumulation rates and to evaluate the potential of re-crystallisation in the snow pack. Our initial results suggest excellent characteristics for ice core analyses. Annual layers did not show any sign of inclination or erosion and no melt layers were found. This is particularly surprising, considering the coastal and low elevation (400m asl) setting of this site.

In addition snow samples were also collected from EPG to extend the proxy record for collation with automatic weather station data from this site.

Fig. 4: Snow sampling at WHG

Fig. 4: Snow sampling at WHG