aerosol; paleoclimate; mass spectrometry; ice cores; biogeochemical cycles
Burgay François, Erhardt Tobias, Lunga Damiano Della, Jensen Camilla Marie, Spolaor Andrea, Vallelonga Paul, Fischer Hubertus, Barbante Carlo (2019), Fe2+ in ice cores as a new potential proxy to detect past volcanic eruptions, in Science of The Total Environment
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For many decades ice core research at the University of Bern has been at the forefront in reconstructions of climate and environmental changes providing benchmark data sets for temperature, greenhouse gas and atmospheric aerosol variations over up to the last 800,000 years. Among others, it has internationally pioneered the development of continuous melt water analysis for selected dissolved and particulate aerosol tracers and applied it to many km of ice core from Greenland and Antarctica. This so called Continuous Flow Analysis (CFA) provides ice core chemistry records in 1 cm resolution. With this high resolution it was the base for reconstructions of seasonal and interannual variability in atmospheric aerosol mobilization and transport but also for layer counted ice core age scales over thousands of years. However, upcoming ice core projects such as the “Oldest Ice” project in Antarctica, which has the goal to expand the ice core climate record to the last 1.5 Myr, concentrate on the bottom-most ice, where the timescale of the climate record is drastically compressed due to glacier flow. To provide the aerosol record in this highly thinned ice in sufficient resolution, a breakthrough in ice core resolution using novel analytical approaches for multi-parameter ice core chemistry is required. Moreover, the total ice core aerosol record consists of dissolved components and insoluble mineral dust particles. A separation of these two contributions would require the detection and chemical characterization of individual dust particles. This has not been attempted yet, due to lack of temporal resolution in analytical techniques. The novel Inductively Coupled Plasma-Time Of Flight-Mass Spectrometer (ICP-TOF-MS) instrument pioneered by TOFWERK AG, Thun, provides the means to overcome these limitations. Accordingly, application of this new technique in ice core research will push forward the limits of our understanding of eolian dust sources and long-range transport of mineral dust aerosol to polar and also high altitude regions. Accordingly, the goal of the project iceCPTOF is to acquire such an instrument and to implement it in our well-established CFA ice core analysis system at the University of Bern.