November 2002 - October 2005
Level of Access
The primary goal of this research is to analyze three ice cores collected by a joint Chinese-US team of researchers in the spring of 2001. At that time, a 117-meter ice core was recovered from the East Rongbuk (ERC) glacier at 6500 meters above sea level. In addition to these analyses, the researchers will participate in a joint Chinese-US expedition to the region to retrieve modern day glaciological and meteorological data to aid in the interpretation of the ice core data.
Based on local accumulation rates and layer thinning estimates, the new 117-meter ERC core likely represents at least several centuries of snow deposition. Thus, the researchers have the opportunity to develop a calibrated, high-resolution paleoclimate record from the region that will complement previous paleoclimatological research from Mt. Everest and Central Asia.
The analysis of the ice cores will focus on producing a detailed time-series of major ion concentrations (i.e., chloride, nitrate, sulfate, calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium and ammonium), stable isotope ratios (i.e., oxygen and deuterium), and total element concentration (i.e., iron, aluminum, calcium, and sulfur).
These data will be used to develop:
-- high-resolution time series of Late Holocene climate variability for the region involving atmospheric circulation, temperature, and precipitation, and
-- detailed environmental records of biomass burning, dust storms, anthropogenic pollutants, and marine and continental biogenic source productivity.
The analyses of the ice cores could increase our understanding of the atmospheric dynamics of an important weather system that impacts a heavily populated region of the world. The interaction and cooperation of scientific colleagues from the United States and China will enhance the prospects for success.
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Mayewski, Paul, "Paleoclimate from Mount Everest Ice Cores" (2005). University of Maine Office of Research Administration: Grant Reports. 218.