Title: Depositional phasing of volcanic aerosols in the WAIS Divide ice core over the past 2400 years
Author: Koffman, B.G., Kreutz, K.J., Breton, D.J., Dunbar, N.W. and Kurbatov, A.
Periodical: American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2011, abstract #V11D-2539

Explosive volcanic events originating in the tropics are an intermittent but significant factor in climate forcing, with the potential to cause global cooling for up to several years. Evidence of prehistoric eruptions in the form of tephra has been documented in sedimentary records throughout the globe, including the polar ice sheets. The chemical record of volcanic aerosols is also found in ice core records. While the record of tropical volcanism observed in Antarctic ice cores (based on sulfate deposition) is consistent regionally, little to no evidence of insoluble aerosols (ash particles) from tropical eruptions has been found. The upper 577 m (2400 years) of the WAIS Divide deep ice core (WDC06A) was melted using the UMaine WAIS Melt Monitor system, which allows accurate mm-scale depth co-registration of electrical conductivity and particle data, with subsequent collection of discrete samples for expanded particle, glaciochemical and geochemical analysis. The concentration and size distribution of microparticles were measured using a flow-through Klotz Abakus laser particle detector, developed by Ruth et al (2002) and calibrated with Coulter-Counter measurements. High-resolution analysis of ice spanning these volcanic intervals indicates that insoluble aerosols consistently arrive sooner than soluble aerosols (i.e., sulfate) at the WAIS Divide site (e.g., the Kuwae, Vanuatu eruption of ~1452 C.E.; Figure 1). We have observed this phasing difference for multiple tropical eruptions, including Agung (1963 C.E.), Krakatau/Tarawera (1886/1883), Tambora (1815), Kuwae (~1452) and Unknown (~1259). This phasing difference, which is on the order of 6-18 months, appears to be related to the eruptive column height and atmospheric transport of material.

Year: 2011