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The WAIS-Divide deep ice core WD2014 chronology – Part 2: Methane synchronization (68–31 ka BP) and the gas age-ice age difference


Abstract. The West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS)-Divide ice core (WAIS-D) is a newly drilled, high-accumulation deep ice core that provides Antarctic climate records of the past ∼68 ka at unprecedented temporal resolution. The upper 2850 m (back to 31.2 ka BP) have been dated using annual-layer counting. Here we present a chronology for the deep part of the core (67.8–31.2 ka BP), which is based on stratigraphic matching to annual-layer-counted Greenland ice cores using globally well-mixed atmospheric methane. We calculate the WAIS-D gas age-ice age difference (Δage) using a combination of firn densification modeling, ice flow modeling, and a dataset of δ15N-N2, a proxy for past firn column thickness. The largest Δage at WAIS-D occurs during the last glacial maximum, and is 525 ± 100 years. Internally consistent solutions can only be found when assuming little-to-no influence of impurity content on densification rates, contrary to a recently proposed hypothesis. We synchronize the WAIS-D chronology to a linearly scaled version of the layer-counted Greenland Ice Core Chronology (GICC05), which brings the age of Dansgaard-Oeschger (DO) events into agreement with the U/Th absolutely dated Hulu speleothem record. The small Δage at WAIS-D provides valuable opportunities to investigate the timing of atmospheric greenhouse gas variations relative to Antarctic climate, as well as the interhemispheric phasing of the bipolar "seesaw".

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