Additional Participants


Erich Osterberg

Graduate Student

Benjamin Gross

Undergraduate Student

Seth Campbell
Max Lurie
Kevin Volkening
Tom Callahan

Technician, Programmer

Michael Waskiewicz
Ronald Lisnet
Douglas Introne
Michael Handley
Sharon Sneed

Organizational Partners

University of New Hampshire
U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory
University on Wisconsin-Madison
Dartmouth College
The University of Montana

Project Period

September 15, 2007-August 31, 2009

Level of Access

Open-Access Report

Grant Number


Submission Date



This is a collaborative proposal by Principal Investigators from the Universities of New Hampshire (UNH) and Maine. Understanding the mechanisms responsible for interannual to decadal-scale climate variability during the late Holocene remains a fundamental research problem in Arctic science. The Principal Investigator's will: 1) perform a detailed reconnaissance to identify suitable locations in Denali National Park (DNP) from which to recover and develop high resolution ice core records; and (2) develop detailed snow chemistry records that document the spatial (both horizontally and vertically) and seasonal variation of major ion and trace element deposition in the region. This will be the first step toward recovering surface-to-bedrock ice cores from DNP that can be used to reconstruct central Alaskan climate change over the last several thousand years. To determine the optimal drill site in DNP, our field season is devoted to reconnaissance activities at two or potential drilling locations, including ground penetrating radar profiles, GPS grid surveys, and sample collection from snowpit and shallow firn cores. All snow and firn samples will be analyzed for stable water isotopes (18O and D), major ions (Na+, Mg2+, Ca2+, K+, NH4+, Cl-, NO4 -, SO42-), trace elements (Al, Fe, Pb, Zn, Hg, Cd, Cu, V, Mn, Ni, As, Se), and rare earth elements (La, Ce, Pr, Nd, Sm, Eu, Gd, Tb, Dy, Ho, Er, Yb, Lu).

Intellectual merit: The proposed suite of measurements will provide the most detailed data quantifying the spatial gradients in snow accumulation and snow chemistry above 3000 m in the region, as well as identifying the elevation above which strong seasonal signals in snow chemistry are preserved. In addition to providing them with critical data to select the optimal site(s) from which to recover surface-to-bedrock ice cores, the data set can be sued to answer a variety of questions including the following: What is the relative flux of pollutants in DNP compared to other glaciers across the Arctic? What is the primary pollution source for metals deposited in DNP? Is there a seasonal fluctuation in pollution sources and concentrations? What is the pollution signature of local (mountaineering) activities on Denali?

Broader impacts of the proposed research: Research results will contribute to an improved understanding of the spatial and seasonal variation in snow accumulation and snow chemistry in DNP. The results will be used in undergraduate and graduate courses at U of Maine and UNH, and will be disseminated to the general public via established outreach programs at both institutions. Two graduate students will be trained as part of this project, and undergraduate students will be involved in the research at both institutions. Finally, the Principal Investigators will collaborate on the development of outreach products with Murie Science and Learning Center in DNP through a proposal they will be submitting to Discover Denali Research Fellowship Program.

Included in

Climate Commons