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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 12, issue 8
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 3799–3808, 2012
© Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 3799–3808, 2012
© Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 26 Apr 2012

Research article | 26 Apr 2012

Variability of black carbon deposition to the East Antarctic Plateau, 1800–2000 AD

M. M. Bisiaux1, R. Edwards1,2, J. R. McConnell1, M. R. Albert3, H. Anschütz4,*, T. A. Neumann5, E. Isaksson4, and J. E. Penner6 M. M. Bisiaux et al.
  • 1Desert Research Institute, Division of Hydrologic Sciences, Reno, NV, USA
  • 2Curtin University, Imaging and Applied Physics, Perth, WA, Australia
  • 3Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755-8000, USA
  • 4Norwegian Polar Institute, Tromsø, Norway
  • 5NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA
  • 6University Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA
  • *now at: Norwegian Geotechnical Institute, Oslo, Norway

Abstract. Refractory black carbon aerosols (rBC) from biomass burning and fossil fuel combustion are deposited to the Antarctic ice sheet and preserve a history of emissions and long-range transport from low- and mid-latitudes. Antarctic ice core rBC records may thus provide information with respect to past combustion aerosol emissions and atmospheric circulation. Here, we present six East Antarctic ice core records of rBC concentrations and fluxes covering the last two centuries with approximately annual resolution (cal. yr. 1800 to 2000). The ice cores were drilled in disparate regions of the high East Antarctic ice sheet, at different elevations and net snow accumulation rates. Annual rBC concentrations were log-normally distributed and geometric means of annual concentrations ranged from 0.10 to 0.18 μg kg−1. Average rBC fluxes were determined over the time periods 1800 to 2000 and 1963 to 2000 and ranged from 3.4 to 15.5 μg m−2 a−1 and 3.6 to 21.8 μg m−2 a−1, respectively. Geometric mean concentrations spanning 1800 to 2000 increased linearly with elevation at a rate of 0.025 μg kg−1/500 m. Spectral analysis of the records revealed significant decadal-scale variability, which at several sites was comparable to decadal ENSO variability.

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