Additional Participants

Senior Personnel

Chris Hendy

Sarah Spaulding

Andrew Fountain

Gideon Henderson

Project Period

September 2002-August 2006

Level of Access

Open-Access Report

Grant Number


Submission Date



This award supports a project to add to the understanding of what drives glacial cycles. Most researchers agree that Milankovitch seasonal forcing paces the ice ages but how these insolation changes are leveraged into abrupt global climate change remains unknown. A current popular view is that the climate of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean leads that of the rest of the world by a couple thousand years at Termination I and by even greater margins during previous terminations. This project will integrate the geomorphological record of glacial history with a series of cores taken from the lake bottoms in the Dry Valleys of the McMurdo Sound region of Antarctica. Using a modified Livingstone corer, transects of long cores will be obtained from Lakes Fryxell, Bonney, Joyce, and Vanda. A multiparameter approach will be employed which is designed to extract the greatest possible amount of former water-level, glaciological, and paleoenvironmental data from Dry Valleys lakes. Estimates of hydrologic changes will come from different proxies, including grain size, stratigraphy, evaporite mineralogy, stable isotope and trace element chemistry, and diatom assemblage analysis. The chronology, necessary to integrate the cores with the geomorphological record, as well as for comparisons with Antarctic ice-core and glacial records, will come from Uranium-Thorium, Uranium-Helium, and Carbon-14 dating of carbonates, as well as luminescence sediment dating. Evaluation of the link between lake-level and climate will come from hydrological and energy-balance modelling. Combination of the more continuous lake-core sequences with the spatially extensive geomorphological record will result in an integrated Antarctic lake-level and paleoclimate dataset that extends back at least 30,000 years. This record will be compared to Dry Valleys glacier records and to the Antarctic ice cores to address questions of regional climate variability, and then to other Southern Hemisphere and Northern Hemisphere records to assess interhemispheric synchrony or asynchrony of climate change.

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Included in

Climate Commons



Rights Statement

In Copyright - Educational Use Permitted.