Climate Dynamics

, Volume 23, Issue 3–4, pp 427–438 | Cite as

Dust size evidence for opposite regional atmospheric circulation changes over east Antarctica during the last climatic transition

  • B. Delmonte
  • J. R. Petit
  • K. K. Andersen
  • I. Basile-Doelsch
  • V. Maggi
  • V. Ya Lipenkov


Three east Antarctic ice cores (Dome B, EPICA-Dome C and Komsomolskaia) give evidence for a uniform dust input to the polar plateau during the last glacial maximum (LGM)/Holocene transition (20 to 10 kyr BP) and the 87Sr/86Sr versus 143Nd/144Nd isotopic signature of the mineral particles highlights a common provenance from southern South America at that time. However, the size distribution of dust from the three ice cores highlights important differences within the east Antarctic during the LGM and shows clearly opposite regional trends during the climatic transition. Between Dome B and Dome C the timing of these changes is also different. A geographical diversity also arises from the different phasing of the short-term (multi-secular scale) dust size oscillations that are superposed at all sites on the main trends of glacial to interglacial changes. We hypothesize the dust grading is controlled by size fractionation inresponse to its atmospheric pathway, either in terms of horizontal trajectory or in altitude of transport. Such mechanism is supported also by the dust size changes observed during a volcanic event recorded in Vostok ice. Ice core dust size data suggest preferential upper air subsidence over the EDC-KMS region and easier penetration of relatively lower air masses to the DB area during the LGM. At the end of the last glacial period and during the climatic transition the region of relatively higher subsidence progressively moved southward. The scenario proposed, supported also by the LGM/Holocene regional changes of snow accumulation, likely operates even at sub-millennial time scale.



B. Delmonte thanks the Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research (SCAR) for awarding her the Prince of Asturias Fellowship 2003.

K.K. Andersen thanks the Carlsberg foundation for financial support. Thanks to V.Masson-Delmotte and anonymous reviewers for their useful suggestionsthat allowed us to improve the manuscript. This work is a contribution to the “European Project for Ice Coring inAntarctica” (EPICA), a joint ESF (European Science Foundation)/EC scientific programme, funded by the European Commission under the Environmental and Climate Programme (1994–1998) contract ENV4-CT95–0074 and by national contributions from Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag  2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Delmonte
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • J. R. Petit
    • 2
  • K. K. Andersen
    • 4
  • I. Basile-Doelsch
    • 5
  • V. Maggi
    • 2
  • V. Ya Lipenkov
    • 6
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Glaciologie et de Géophysique de l’Environnement (LGGE-CNRS)Saint Martin d’HèresFrance
  2. 2.University of Milano-BicoccaDipartimento Scienze AmbientaliMilanoItaly
  3. 3.University of SienaDepartment of Geological ScienceSienaItaly
  4. 4.Niels Bohr Institute for Astronomy, Physics and GeophysicsUniversity of CopenhagenDenmark
  5. 5.IRDSainte-Clotilde cedexFrance
  6. 6.Arctic and Antarctic Research InstituteSt PetersburgRussia

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