Polar ice cores are a sensitive archive of climate change, offering a record of past atmospheric conditions and allowing an accurate assessment of the impact of contemporary climate variations. Climate data for the past 800,000 years has come from deep ice cores drilled in central Antarctica, but shorter records from coastal Antarctica are of considerable interest because of the importance of the Southern Ocean in the global climate system. We propose to analyse samples from an ice core drilled at Talos Dom e, a coastal site in Victoria Land, Antarctica. A suite of elements will be analysed by Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry to evaluate fluxes of Iron and other nutrients to Ross Sea sector of the Southern Ocean. These results will be integrated with Carbon isotopic compositions and CO2 concentrations to investigate iron fertilization of the Southern Ocean since the last glacial maximum and its effect on atmospheric CO2 concentrations.
This research coincides with the International Polar Year (2007 -08), an interdisciplinary scientific research and observations in the Earth's polar regions. This project will contribute to the goal of documenting the climatic mechanisms involved in the last deglaciation by investigating previously unconsidered aspects of the iron hypothesis. They will appeal to a wide scientific audience, especially those interested in climate change and also potential users, such as modellers, for more confident long-range carbon cycle and climate change forecasting. This proposal will broaden the skills of an Australian postdoctoral researcher by enabling him to work with a leading European laboratory for state-of-the-art investigations of trace metals in ice cores.
The researcher has substantial experience in mass spectrometry but will develop complementary skills with Antarctic fieldwork, integrated study of trace metals and gases in ice, research management, negotiation and communication skills relevant to international research.
Fields of science
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