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Revised records of atmospheric trace gases CO2, CH4, N2O, and δ13C-CO2 over the last 2000 years from Law Dome, Antarctica


Rubino, M and Etheridge, DM and Thornton, DP and Howden, R and Allison, CE and Francey, RJ and Langenfelds, RL and Steele, LP and Trudinger, CM and Spencer, DA and Curran, MAJ and van Ommen, TD and Smith, AM, Revised records of atmospheric trace gases CO2, CH4, N2O, and δ13C-CO2 over the last 2000 years from Law Dome, Antarctica, Earth System Science Data, 11, (2) pp. 473-492. ISSN 1866-3508 (2019) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.5194/essd-11-473-2019


Ice core records of the major atmospheric greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4, N2O) and their isotopologues covering recent centuries provide evidence of biogeochemical variations during the Late Holocene and pre-industrial periods and over the transition to the industrial period. These records come from a number of ice core and firn air sites and have been measured in several laboratories around the world and show common features but also unresolved differences. Here we present revised records, including new measurements, performed at the CSIRO Ice Core Extraction LABoratory (ICELAB) on air samples from ice obtained at the high-accumulation site of Law Dome (East Antarctica). We are motivated by the increasing use of the records by the scientific community and by recent data-handling developments at CSIRO ICELAB. A number of cores and firn air samples have been collected at Law Dome to provide high-resolution records overlapping recent, direct atmospheric observations. The records have been updated through a dynamic link to the calibration scales used in the Global Atmospheric Sampling LABoratory (GASLAB) at CSIRO, which are periodically revised with information from the latest calibration experiments. The gas-age scales have been revised based on new ice-age scales and the information derived from a new version of the CSIRO firn diffusion model. Additionally, the records have been revised with new, rule-based selection criteria and updated corrections for biases associated with the extraction procedure and the effects of gravity and diffusion in the firn. All measurements carried out in ICELAB–GASLAB over the last 25 years are now managed through a database (the ICElab dataBASE or ICEBASE), which provides consistent data management, automatic corrections and selection of measurements, and a web-based user interface for data extraction. We present the new records, discuss their strengths and limitations, and summarise their main features. The records reveal changes in the carbon cycle and atmospheric chemistry over the last 2 millennia, including the major changes of the anthropogenic era and the smaller, mainly natural variations beforehand. They provide the historical data to calibrate and test the next inter-comparison of models used to predict future climate change (Coupled Model Inter-comparison Project – phase 6, CMIP6). The datasets described in this paper, including spline fits, are available at (Rubino et al., 2019).

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:atmospheric trace gases, Antarctica, ice core records, greenhouse gases
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Physical geography and environmental geoscience
Research Field:Palaeoclimatology
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Understanding climate change
Objective Field:Effects of climate change on Antarctic and sub-Antarctic environments (excl. social impacts)
UTAS Author:Curran, MAJ (Dr Mark Curran)
UTAS Author:van Ommen, TD (Dr Tas van Ommen)
ID Code:151900
Year Published:2019
Web of Science® Times Cited:29
Deposited By:Australian Antarctic Program Partnership
Deposited On:2022-08-08
Last Modified:2022-08-08

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