Project

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Palaeo climate reconstruction from Tsambagarav ice core, Mongolian Altai

Applicant Schwikowski Margit
Number 134564
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Paul Scherrer Institut
Institution of higher education Paul Scherrer Institute - PSI
Main discipline Climatology. Atmospherical Chemistry, Aeronomy
Start/End 01.05.2011 - 30.09.2013
Approved amount 134'756.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Climatology. Atmospherical Chemistry, Aeronomy
Hydrology, Limnology, Glaciology

Keywords (5)

Climate variability; Altai; Millennium; Ice cores; Mongolia

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary

In orderto place recent climate change in a longer term context the reconstruction ofclimatic variations on annual, interannual, and decadal time scales of the last1000 years is a priority target in current climate research. This project aims to reconstruct differentclimate parameters using an ice core from a high-alpine glacier at a verycontinental site with low data coverage, the Altai mountain range in Central Asia.

In a previousproject 4140m asl, 48°39.338’N, 90°50.826’E) was selected as drilling site. During the oneweek spent on the glacier (3-10 July 2009) we extracted a 72 m ice core tobedrock and a 52 m parallel core. Ground penetrating radar data showed athickness of about 70 m and smooth bedrock at the drilling site. The surfaceand bedrock geometry survey suggest low ice velocities and indicate that theselection of the drilling site was optimal. Ice temperatures measured in theborehole range from -12.6 to -13.8°C, implying that percolating melt waterrefreezes within the top layers. Thus the glaciochemical records should be wellpreserved. Tsambagarav range (one of the icecaps in the

Up to nowwe have analyzed the upper 31 m, corresponding to 20 m waterequivalent (weq) ofthe 72 m ice core for major ions and stable isotopes (d18Pbwas used. Accumulation calculated from the different dating methods correspondsto 0.33 m weq/year. The low accumulation suggests that the ice core containsabout one millennium of climatic information including the Medieval Warm Periodand the Little Ice Age. 210H maximum and 3O), and a few sample for black carbonconcentration. Preliminary dating was performed by annual layer counting of theammonium and formate concentration, which show the strongest seasonalvariation. In addition, nuclear dating of the 1963

The mainobjectives of this follow-up project are to complete the geochemical analysisof the lowest 41 m of the 72 m Tsambagarav ice core, to finalise the dating ofthe entire core, to reconstruct temperature, precipitation, black carbonconcentration, and air pollution, and to provide key information aboutmagnitude and spatial patterns of climate change in this area of Central Asia.This project is a collaborative effort between the Analytical Chemistry Groupof the Laboratory of Radiochemistry and Environmental Chemistry, Paul ScherrerInstitut and University of Bern, the Department of Geosciences of the University of Fribourg,Switzerland, and theInstitut for Water and Environmental Problems SB RAS, Barnaul, Russia.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
A continuous ice core 10Be record from Mongolian mid-latitudes: Influences of solar variability and local climate
Inceoglu Fadil (2016), A continuous ice core 10Be record from Mongolian mid-latitudes: Influences of solar variability and local climate, in Earth andPlanetaryScienceLetters, 437, 47-56.
The onset of Neoglaciation 6000 years ago in western Mongolia revealed by an ice core from the Tsambagarav mountain range
Herren Pierre-Alain, Eichler Anja, Machguth Horst, Papina Tatyana, Tobler Leonhard, Zapf Alexander, Schwikowski Margit (2013), The onset of Neoglaciation 6000 years ago in western Mongolia revealed by an ice core from the Tsambagarav mountain range, in QUATERNARY SCIENCE REVIEWS, 69, 59-68.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
IWEP Russia (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Exchange of personnel

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
DACA-13 Davos Atmosphere and Cryosphere Assembly Talk given at a conference Holocene climate in Western Mongolia from an Altai ice core 08.07.2013 Davos, Switzerland Schwikowski Margit; Herren Pierre-Alain;
PAGES 4th Open Science Meeting Talk given at a conference Holocene Climate in Western Mongolia from an Altai ice core 13.02.2013 Goa, India Herren Pierre-Alain; Schwikowski Margit;
2 nd PAGES Young Researcher Meeting Talk given at a conference Holocene Climate in Western Mongolia from an Altai ice core 11.02.2013 Goa, India Herren Pierre-Alain; Schwikowski Margit;
10th Swiss Geoscience Meeting Poster Complex age-depth relation in a mid-latitude glacier 16.11.2012 Bern, Switzerland Schwikowski Margit; Herren Pierre-Alain;
International Partnerships in Ice Core Sciences First Open Science Conference Talk given at a conference Ice core based climate reconstruction of the Mongolian Altai 01.10.2012 Presqu'île de Giens, France Herren Pierre-Alain; Schwikowski Margit;
9th Swiss Geoscience Meeting Talk given at a conference Ice core based climate reconstruction of the Mongolian Altai 11.11.2011 ETH Zurich, Switzerland, Switzerland Herren Pierre-Alain; Schwikowski Margit;
XVIII INQUA Congress Talk given at a conference An ice-core based history of Siberian forest fires since AD 1250 21.07.2011 Bern, Switzerland, Switzerland Schwikowski Margit; Herren Pierre-Alain;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: print media, online media Sechs Tage bohren für tausendjähriges Eis Geosciences ACTUEL Western Switzerland Italian-speaking Switzerland Rhaeto-Romanic Switzerland German-speaking Switzerland 2012

Awards

Title Year
First Prize for Young Researchers of the Swiss Snow, Ice, and Permafrost Society (SEP) 2011

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
119743 Palaeo climate reconstruction from the highly continental Mongolian Altai 01.05.2009 Project funding (Div. I-III)
119743 Palaeo climate reconstruction from the highly continental Mongolian Altai 01.05.2009 Project funding (Div. I-III)
181985 Reconstructing historic and modern anthropogenic FSU heavy metal pollution 01.04.2019 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

In order to place recent climate change in a longer term context the reconstruction of climatic variations on annual, interannual, and decadal time scales of the last 1000 years is a priority target in current climate research. In its recent report the IPCC recommends that to reduce uncertainty associated with present palaeoclimate estimates of Northern Hemispheric temperatures, further work is necessary to produce many more, especially early, palaeoclimate series with much wider geographical coverage. Various annually resolved reconstructions of northern hemispheric temperatures have been developed, but their uncertainty is still significant. There are for example far from sufficient data to make any meaningful estimates of global medieval warmth. This firstly due to scarce data sets for the time period before 1600 AD. Secondly, millennial proxy data sets are strongly biased towards tree ring chronologies and, thirdly, regional coverage is poor. Furthermore, there is still a debate about the sun’s role in Earth’s temperature variations. A number of proxies respond to the variability in the solar cycle and it was suggested that climate models underestimate the solar contribution to recent climate change. However, the extent and geographical variations of the solar influence on timescales of millennia to decades is poorly known.We focus on climate studies at a very continental site with low data coverage. A temperature record was already recovered for the time period 1250-2000AD using an ice core from Belukha glacier in the Siberian Altai (49°48’N, 86°35’E). March-November temperatures derived from the ice core ?18O record show an exceptional high correlation with reconstructed solar activity over this long time period. The observed temperature increase of 3.2±1.7°C between the Maunder minimum and the end of the 20th century exceeds that of Northern Hemisphere reconstructions with typical ?T of 0.8-1°C. In order to verify the sensitivity of the temperature response to small changes in sun activity in this region and, if possible, to extent the record further back in time, we obtained in 2009 an ice core from the Mongolian Altai. This work was conducted in the frame of the 2-years SNF project “Palaeo climate reconstruction from the highly continental Mongolian Altai”. This proposal seeks funding for a 2-years extension of that project.As drilling site one of the ice caps in the Tsambagarav range (4140 m asl, 48°39.338’N, 90°50.826’E) was selected, 350 km southeast of Belukha glacier. During the one week spent on the glacier (3-10 July 2009) we extracted a 72 m ice core to bedrock and a 52 m parallel core. Ground penetrating radar data show a thickness of about 70 m and smooth bedrock at the drilling site. The surface and bedrock geometry survey suggest low ice velocities and indicate that the selection of the drilling site was optimal. Ice temperatures measured in the borehole range from -12.6 to -13.8°C, implying that percolating melt water refreezes within the top layers. Thus the glaciochemical records should be well preserved. Elevated temperatures from 10 to 30 m depth point to increasing air temperatures in recent times. This is consistent with higher abundance of ice lenses formed by refreezing of melt water in the upper 12 m of the core. With increasing depth the ice lenses occurrence declines significantly. The irregular distribution with depth indicates elevated temperatures in the recent past. This trend is consistent with data from the Belukha ice core, Siberian Altai.Up to now we have analyzed the upper 31 m, corresponding to 20 m waterequivalent (weq) of the 72 m ice core for major ions and stable isotopes (?18O), and a few sample for black carbon concentration. Preliminary dating was performed by annual layer counting of the ammonium and formate concentration, which show the strongest seasonal variation. In addition, the 1963 3H maximum and a few 210Pb samples were used. Accumulation calculated from the different dating methods corresponds to 0.33 m weq/year. The low accumulation suggests that the ice core contains about one millennium of climatic information including the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age.The main objectives of this project are to complete the geochemical analysis of the lowest 41 m of the 72 m Tsambagarav ice core, to finalise the dating of the entire core, to reconstruct temperature, precipitation, black carbon concentration, and air pollution, and to compare the reconstructions with published results from Belukha ice core to provide key information about magnitude and spatial patterns of climate change in this area of Central Asia.
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