Das Sarah B.

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Sarah B.

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  • Article
    Characterization and formation of melt layers in polar snow : observations and experiments from West Antarctica
    (International Glaciological Society, 2005) Das, Sarah B. ; Alley, Richard B.
    Surface melting rarely occurs across most of the Antarctic ice sheet, away from the warmer coastal regions. Nonetheless, isolated melt features are preserved in the firn and ice in response to infrequent and short-lived melting events. An understanding of the formation and occurrence of these melt layers will help us to interpret records of past melt occurrences from polar ice cores such as the Siple Dome ice-core record from West Antarctica. A search in the near-surface firn in West Antarctica found that melt features are extremely rare, and consist of horizontal, laterally continuous, one to a few millimeter thick, ice layers with few air bubbles. The melt layers found date from the 1992/93 and 1991/92 summers. Field experiments to investigate changes in stratigraphy taking place during melt events reproduced melt features as seen in the natural stratigraphy. Melting conditions of varying intensity were created by passively heating the near-surface air for varying lengths of time inside a clear plastic hotbox. Melt layers formed due entirely to preferential flow and subsequent refreezing of meltwater from the surface into near-surface, fine-grained, crust layers. Continuous melt layers were formed experimentally when positive-degree-day values exceeded 18C-day, a value corresponding well with air-temperature records from automatic weather station sites where melt layers formed in the recent past.
  • Article
    Continued deceleration of Whillans Ice Stream, West Antarctica
    (American Geophysical Union, 2005-11-17) Joughin, Ian ; Bindschadler, R. A. ; King, Matt A. ; Voigt, Donald E. ; Alley, Richard B. ; Anandakrishnan, Sridhar ; Horgan, H. ; Peters, L. ; Winberry, J. Paul ; Das, Sarah B. ; Catania, Ginny
    Earlier observations indicated that Whillans Ice Stream slowed from 1973 to 1997. We collected new GPS observations of the ice stream's speed in 2003 and 2004. These data show that the ice stream is continuing to decelerate at rates of about 0.6%/yr2, with faster rates near the grounding line. Our data also indicate that the deceleration extends over the full width of the ice plain. Extrapolation of the deceleration trend suggests the ice stream could stagnate sometime between the middle of the 21st and 22nd Centuries.
  • Article
    Relationship between Greenland Ice Sheet surface speed and modeled effective pressure
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2018-09-27) Stevens, Laura A. ; Hewitt, Ian J. ; Das, Sarah B. ; Behn, Mark D.
    We use a numerical subglacial hydrology model and remotely sensed observations of Greenland Ice Sheet surface motion to test whether the inverse relationship between effective pressure and regional melt season surface speeds observed at individual sites holds on a regional scale. The model is forced with daily surface runoff estimates for 2009 and 2010 across an ~8,000‐km2 region on the western margin. The overall subglacial drainage system morphology develops similarly in both years, with subglacial channel networks growing inland from the ice sheet margin and robust subglacial pathways forming over bedrock ridges. Modeled effective pressures are compared to contemporaneous regional surface speeds derived from TerraSAR‐X imagery to investigate spatial relationships. Our results show an inverse spatial relationship between effective pressure and ice speed in the mid‐melt season, when surface speeds are elevated, indicating that effective pressure is the dominant control on surface velocities in the mid‐melt season. By contrast, in the early and late melt seasons, when surface speeds are slower, effective pressure and surface speed have a positive relationship. Our results suggest that outside of the mid‐melt season, the influence of effective pressures on sliding speeds may be secondary to the influence of driving stress and spatially variable bed roughness.
  • Preprint
    Molecular characterization of dissolved organic matter associated with the Greenland ice sheet
    ( 2010-03-16) Bhatia, Maya P. ; Das, Sarah B. ; Longnecker, Krista ; Charette, Matthew A. ; Kujawinski, Elizabeth B.
    Subsurface microbial oxidation of overridden soils and vegetation beneath glaciers and ice sheets may affect global carbon budgets on glacial-interglacial timescales. The likelihood and magnitude of this process depends on the chemical nature and reactivity of the subglacial organic carbon stores. We examined the composition of carbon pools associated with different regions of the Greenland ice sheet (subglacial, supraglacial, proglacial) in order to elucidate the type of dissolved organic matter (DOM) present in the subglacial discharge over a melt season. Electrospray ionization (ESI) Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance (FT-ICR) mass spectrometry coupled to multivariate statistics permitted unprecedented molecular level characterization of this material and revealed that carbon pools associated with discrete glacial regions are comprised of different compound classes. Specifically, a larger proportion of protein-like compounds were observed in the supraglacial samples and in the early melt season (spring) subglacial discharge. In contrast, the late melt season (summer) subglacial discharge contained a greater fraction of lignin-like and other material presumably derived from underlying vegetation and soil. These results suggest (1) that the majority of supraglacial DOM originates from autochthonous microbial processes on the ice sheet surface, (2) that the subglacial DOM contains allochthonous carbon derived from overridden soils and vegetation as well as autochthonous carbon derived from in situ microbial metabolism, and (3) that the relative contribution of allochthonous and autochthonous material in subglacial discharge varies during the melt season. These conclusions are consistent with the hypothesis that, given sufficient time (e.g., overwinter storage), resident subglacial microbial communities may oxidize terrestrial material beneath the Greenland ice sheet.
  • Article
    Influence of ice-sheet geometry and supraglacial lakes on seasonal ice-flow variability
    (Copernicus Publications on behalf of the European Geosciences Union, 2013-07-26) Joughin, Ian ; Das, Sarah B. ; Flowers, G. E. ; Behn, Mark D. ; Alley, Richard B. ; King, Matt A. ; Smith, B. E. ; Bamber, Jonathan L. ; van den Broeke, Michiel R. ; van Angelen, J. H.
    Supraglacial lakes play an important role in establishing hydrological connections that allow lubricating seasonal meltwater to reach the base of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Here we use new surface velocity observations to examine the influence of supraglacial lake drainages and surface melt rate on ice flow. We find large, spatially extensive speedups concurrent with times of lake drainage, showing that lakes play a key role in modulating regional ice flow. While surface meltwater is supplied to the bed via a geographically sparse network of moulins, the observed ice-flow enhancement suggests that this meltwater spreads widely over the ice-sheet bed. We also find that the complex spatial pattern of speedup is strongly determined by the combined influence of bed and surface topography on subglacial water flow. Thus, modeling of ice-sheet basal hydrology likely will require knowledge of bed topography resolved at scales (sub-kilometer) far finer than existing data (several km).
  • Preprint
    Fracture propagation to the base of the Greenland Ice Sheet during supraglacial lake drainage
    ( 2008-02-20) Das, Sarah B. ; Joughin, Ian ; Behn, Mark D. ; Howat, Ian M. ; King, Matt A. ; Lizarralde, Daniel ; Bhatia, Maya P.
    Surface meltwater that reaches the base of an ice sheet creates a mechanism for the rapid response of ice flow to climate change. The process whereby such a pathway is created through thick, cold ice has not, however, been previously observed. We describe the rapid (<2 hours) drainage of a large supraglacial lake down 980 m through to the bed of the Greenland Ice Sheet initiated by water-driven fracture propagation evolving into moulin flow. Drainage coincided with increased seismicity, transient acceleration, ice sheet uplift and horizontal displacement. Subsidence and deceleration occurred over the following 24 hours. The short-lived dynamic response suggests an efficient drainage system dispersed the meltwater subglacially. The integrated effect of multiple lake drainages could explain the observed net regional summer ice speedup.
  • Article
    Rise in frequency of surface melting at Siple Dome through the Holocene : evidence for increasing marine influence on the climate of West Antarctica
    (American Geophysical Union, 2008-01-29) Das, Sarah B. ; Alley, Richard B.
    A new melt layer history from Siple Dome, West Antarctica, indicates notable late-Holocene summertime warming. Visual stratigraphic analyses of the 1004-m ice core identified 62 years with melt layers. Melting events began around 11.7 ka, followed by a period of no melting from 8.8–6.6 ka. Melt layer frequency increased from 6.6 ka to the present, with the 1000-year-average melt layer frequency reaching a maximum of 2% at 0.8 ka. We use our millennial-scale archive of melt events as a unique seasonal paleothermometer to elucidate changes in West Antarctic Holocene summer climate. Our calibration suggests the change in melt frequency from 0% to 2% may represent a summer temperature increase of ≥2°C from the middle to late Holocene. This temperature change cannot be explained entirely by local change in ice elevation or summer insolation and is in contrast to East Antarctic climate records, which show peak warmth in the early Holocene followed by stable or decreasing temperature. We interpret the rise in melt frequency as evidence of an increasing marine influence on the Ross Sea sector of West Antarctica. Although the surface elevation of Siple Dome has not changed greatly, the continued lateral retreat of the West Antarctic ice sheet from its Last Glacial Maximum configuration (across the outer continental shelf), and the delayed drawdown in ice thickness from the adjacent coastal Marie Byrd Land region, in conjunction with periods of increased cyclogenesis, perhaps related to variations in ENSO, would allow a moderated maritime climate to more easily reach West Antarctica.
  • Article
    Holocene black carbon in Antarctica paralleled Southern Hemisphere climate
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2017-07-01) Arienzo, Monica ; McConnell, Joseph R. ; Murphy, Lisa N. ; Chellman, Nathan ; Das, Sarah B. ; Kipfstuhl, Sepp ; Mulvaney, Robert
    Black carbon (BC) and other biomass-burning (BB) aerosols are critical components of climate forcing, but quantification, predictive climate modeling, and policy decisions have been hampered by limited understanding of the climate drivers of BB and by the lack of long-term records. Prior modeling studies suggested that increased Northern Hemisphere anthropogenic BC emissions increased recent temperatures and regional precipitation, including a northward shift in the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). Two Antarctic ice cores were analyzed for BC, and the longest record shows that the highest BC deposition during the Holocene occurred ~8–6 k years before present in a period of relatively high austral burning season and low growing season insolation. Atmospheric transport modeling suggests South America (SA) as the dominant source of modern Antarctic BC and, consistent with the ice core record, climate model experiments using mid-Holocene and preindustrial insolation simulate comparable increases in carbon loss due to fires in SA during the mid-Holocene. SA climate proxies document a northward shifted ITCZ and weakened SA Summer Monsoon (SASM) during this period, with associated impacts on hydroclimate and burning. A second Antarctic ice core spanning the last 2.5 k years documents similar linkages between hydroclimate and BC, with the lowest deposition during the Little Ice Age characterized by a southerly shifted ITCZ and strengthened SASM. These new results indicate that insolation-driven changes in SA hydroclimate and BB, likely linked to the position of the ITCZ, modulated Antarctic BC deposition during most of the Holocene and suggests connections and feedbacks between future BC emissions and hydroclimate.
  • Article
    Hydraulic transmissivity inferred from ice-sheet relaxation following Greenland supraglacial lake drainages
    (Nature Research, 2021-06-25) Lai, Ching-Yao ; Stevens, Laura A. ; Chase, Danielle L. ; Creyts, Timothy T. ; Behn, Mark D. ; Das, Sarah B. ; Stone, Howard A.
    Surface meltwater reaching the base of the Greenland Ice Sheet transits through drainage networks, modulating the flow of the ice sheet. Dye and gas-tracing studies conducted in the western margin sector of the ice sheet have directly observed drainage efficiency to evolve seasonally along the drainage pathway. However, the local evolution of drainage systems further inland, where ice thicknesses exceed 1000 m, remains largely unknown. Here, we infer drainage system transmissivity based on surface uplift relaxation following rapid lake drainage events. Combining field observations of five lake drainage events with a mathematical model and laboratory experiments, we show that the surface uplift decreases exponentially with time, as the water in the blister formed beneath the drained lake permeates through the subglacial drainage system. This deflation obeys a universal relaxation law with a timescale that reveals hydraulic transmissivity and indicates a two-order-of-magnitude increase in subglacial transmissivity (from 0.8 ± 0.3 mm3 to 215 ± 90.2 mm3) as the melt season progresses, suggesting significant changes in basal hydrology beneath the lakes driven by seasonal meltwater input.
  • Article
    Seismicity on the western Greenland Ice Sheet : surface fracture in the vicinity of active moulins
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2015-06-25) Carmichael, Joshua D. ; Joughin, Ian ; Behn, Mark D. ; Das, Sarah B. ; King, Matt A. ; Stevens, Laura A. ; Lizarralde, Daniel
    We analyzed geophone and GPS measurements collected within the ablation zone of the western Greenland Ice Sheet during a ~35 day period of the 2011 melt season to study changes in ice deformation before, during, and after a supraglacial lake drainage event. During rapid lake drainage, ice flow speeds increased to ~400% of winter values, and icequake activity peaked. At times >7 days after drainage, this seismicity developed variability over both diurnal and longer periods (~10 days), while coincident ice speeds fell to ~150% of winter values and showed nightly peaks in spatial variability. Approximately 95% of all detected seismicity in the lake basin and its immediate vicinity was triggered by fracture propagation within near-surface ice (<330 m deep) that generated Rayleigh waves. Icequakes occurring before and during drainage frequently were collocated with the down flow (west) end of the primary hydrofracture through which the lake drained but shifted farther west and outside the lake basin after the drainage. We interpret these results to reveal vertical hydrofracture opening and local uplift during the drainage, followed by enhanced seismicity and ice flow on the downstream side of the lake basin. This region collocates with interferometric synthetic aperture radar-measured speedup in previous years and could reflect the migration path of the meltwater supplied to the bed by the lake. The diurnal seismic signal can be associated with nightly reductions in surface melt input that increase effective basal pressure and traction, thereby promoting elevated strain in the surficial ice.
  • Article
    Observed and modeled Greenland ice sheet snow accumulation, 1958-2003, and links with regional climate forcing
    (American Meteorological Society, 2006-02-01) Hanna, Edward ; McConnell, Joseph R. ; Das, Sarah B. ; Cappelen, John ; Stephens, Ag
    Annual and monthly snow accumulation for the Greenland Ice Sheet was derived from ECMWF forecasts [mainly 40-yr ECMWR Re-Analysis (ERA-40)] and further meteorological modeling. Modeled accumulation was validated using 58 ice core accumulation datasets across the ice sheet and was found to be 95% of the observed accumulation on average, with a mean correlation of 0.53 between modeled and observed. Many of the ice core datasets are new and are presented here for the first time. Central and northern interior parts of the ice sheet were found to be 10%–30% too dry in ERA-40, in line with earlier ECMWF analysis, although too much (>50% locally) snow accumulation was modeled for interior southern parts of Greenland. Nevertheless, 47 of 58 sites show significant correlation in temporal variability of modeled with observed accumulation. The model also captures the absolute amount of snow accumulation at several sites, most notably Das1 and Das2 in southeast Greenland. Mean modeled accumulation over the ice sheet was 0.279 (standard deviation 0.034) m yr−1 for 1958–2003 with no significant trend for either the ice sheet or any of the core sites. Unusually high accumulation in southeast Greenland in 2002/03 leads the authors to study meteorological synoptic forcing patterns and comment on the prospect of enhanced climate variability leading to more such events as a result of global warming. There is good agreement between precipitation measured at coastal meteorological stations in southern Greenland and accumulation modeled for adjacent regions of the ice sheet. There is no significant persistent relation between the North Atlantic Oscillation index and whole or southern Greenland accumulation.
  • Article
    Linking glacially modified waters to catchment-scale subglacial discharge using autonomous underwater vehicle observations
    (Copernicus Publications on behalf of the European Geosciences Union, 2016-02-24) Stevens, Laura A. ; Straneo, Fiamma ; Das, Sarah B. ; Plueddemann, Albert J. ; Kukulya, Amy L. ; Morlighem, Mathieu
    Measurements of near-ice (<  200 m) hydrography and near-terminus subglacial hydrology are lacking, due in large part to the difficulty in working at the margin of calving glaciers. Here we pair detailed hydrographic and bathymetric measurements collected with an autonomous underwater vehicle as close as 150 m from the ice–ocean interface of the Saqqarliup sermia–Sarqardleq Fjord system, West Greenland, with modeled and observed subglacial discharge locations and magnitudes. We find evidence of two main types of subsurface glacially modified water (GMW) with distinct properties and locations. The two GMW locations also align with modeled runoff discharged at separate locations along the grounded margin corresponding with two prominent subcatchments beneath Saqqarliup sermia. Thus, near-ice observations and subglacial discharge routing indicate that runoff from this glacier occurs primarily at two discrete locations and gives rise to two distinct glacially modified waters. Furthermore, we show that the location with the largest subglacial discharge is associated with the lighter, fresher glacially modified water mass. This is qualitatively consistent with results from an idealized plume model.
  • Article
    Multi-model mean nitrogen and sulfur deposition from the Atmospheric Chemistry and Climate Model Intercomparison Project (ACCMIP) : evaluation of historical and projected future changes
    (Copernicus Publications on behalf of the European Geosciences Union, 2013-08-20) Lamarque, J.-F. ; Dentener, F. ; McConnell, Joseph R. ; Ro, C.-U. ; Shaw, M. ; Vet, R. ; Bergmann, D. ; Cameron-Smith, P. ; Dalsoren, S. ; Doherty, R. ; Faluvegi, G. ; Ghan, S. J. ; Josse, B. ; Lee, Y. H. ; MacKenzie, I. A. ; Plummer, D. ; Shindell, D. T. ; Skeie, R. B. ; Stevenson, D. S. ; Strode, S. ; Zeng, G. ; Curran, M. A. J. ; Dahl-Jensen, D. ; Das, Sarah B. ; Fritzsche, D. ; Nolan, M.
    We present multi-model global datasets of nitrogen and sulfate deposition covering time periods from 1850 to 2100, calculated within the Atmospheric Chemistry and Climate Model Intercomparison Project (ACCMIP). The computed deposition fluxes are compared to surface wet deposition and ice core measurements. We use a new dataset of wet deposition for 2000–2002 based on critical assessment of the quality of existing regional network data. We show that for present day (year 2000 ACCMIP time slice), the ACCMIP results perform similarly to previously published multi-model assessments. For this time slice, we find a multi-model mean deposition of approximately 50 Tg(N) yr−1 from nitrogen oxide emissions, 60 Tg(N) yr−1 from ammonia emissions, and 83 Tg(S) yr−1 from sulfur emissions. The analysis of changes between 1980 and 2000 indicates significant differences between model and measurements over the United States but less so over Europe. This difference points towards a potential misrepresentation of 1980 NH3 emissions over North America. Based on ice core records, the 1850 deposition fluxes agree well with Greenland ice cores, but the change between 1850 and 2000 seems to be overestimated in the Northern Hemisphere for both nitrogen and sulfur species. Using the Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) to define the projected climate and atmospheric chemistry related emissions and concentrations, we find large regional nitrogen deposition increases in 2100 in Latin America, Africa and parts of Asia under some of the scenarios considered. Increases in South Asia are especially large, and are seen in all scenarios, with 2100 values more than double their 2000 counterpart in some scenarios and reaching > 1300 mg(N) m−2 yr−1 averaged over regional to continental-scale regions in RCP 2.6 and 8.5, ~ 30–50% larger than the values in any region currently (circa 2000). However, sulfur deposition rates in 2100 are in all regions lower than in 2000 in all the RCPs. The new ACCMIP multi-model deposition dataset provides state-of-the-science, consistent and evaluated time slice (spanning 1850–2100) global gridded deposition fields for use in a wide range of climate and ecological studies.
  • Article
    Greenland Ice Sheet flow response to runoff variability
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2016-11-12) Stevens, Laura A. ; Behn, Mark D. ; Das, Sarah B. ; Joughin, Ian ; Noel, Brice P. Y. ; van den Broeke, Michiel R. ; Herring, Thomas
    We use observations of ice sheet surface motion from a Global Positioning System network operating from 2006 to 2014 around North Lake in west Greenland to investigate the dynamical response of the Greenland Ice Sheet's ablation area to interannual variability in surface melting. We find no statistically significant relationship between runoff season characteristics and ice flow velocities within a given year or season. Over the 7 year time series, annual velocities at North Lake decrease at an average rate of −0.9 ± 1.1 m yr−2, consistent with the negative trend in annual velocities observed in neighboring regions over recent decades. We find that net runoff integrated over several preceding years has a negative correlation with annual velocities, similar to findings from the two other available decadal records of ice velocity in western Greenland. However, we argue that this correlation is not necessarily evidence for a direct hydrologic mechanism acting on the timescale of multiple years but could be a statistical construct. Finally, we stress that neither the decadal slowdown trend nor the negative correlation between velocity and integrated runoff is predicted by current ice-sheet models, underscoring that these models do not yet capture all the relevant feedbacks between runoff and ice dynamics needed to predict long-term trends in ice sheet flow.
  • Article
    Near-surface environmentally forced changes in the Ross Ice Shelf observed with ambient seismic noise
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2018-10-16) Chaput, Julien ; Aster, Richard C. ; McGrath, Daniel ; Baker, Michael G. ; Anthony, Robert E. ; Gerstoft, Peter ; Bromirski, Peter D. ; Nyblade, Andrew A. ; Stephen, Ralph A. ; Wiens, Douglas A. ; Das, Sarah B. ; Stevens, Laura A.
    Continuous seismic observations across the Ross Ice Shelf reveal ubiquitous ambient resonances at frequencies >5 Hz. These firn‐trapped surface wave signals arise through wind and snow bedform interactions coupled with very low velocity structures. Progressive and long‐term spectral changes are associated with surface snow redistribution by wind and with a January 2016 regional melt event. Modeling demonstrates high spectral sensitivity to near‐surface (top several meters) elastic parameters. We propose that spectral peak changes arise from surface snow redistribution in wind events and to velocity drops reflecting snow lattice weakening near 0°C for the melt event. Percolation‐related refrozen layers and layer thinning may also contribute to long‐term spectral changes after the melt event. Single‐station observations are inverted for elastic structure for multiple stations across the ice shelf. High‐frequency ambient noise seismology presents opportunities for continuous assessment of near‐surface ice shelf or other firn environments.
  • Article
    Ice sheet record of recent sea-ice behavior and polynya variability in the Amundsen Sea, West Antarctica
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2013-01-25) Criscitiello, Alison S. ; Das, Sarah B. ; Evans, Matthew J. ; Frey, Karen E. ; Conway, Howard ; Joughin, Ian ; Medley, Brooke ; Steig, Eric J.
    Our understanding of past sea-ice variability is limited by the short length of satellite and instrumental records. Proxy records can extend these observations but require further development and validation. We compare methanesulfonic acid (MSA) and chloride (Cl–) concentrations from a new firn core from coastal West Antarctica with satellite-derived observations of regional sea-ice concentration (SIC) in the Amundsen Sea (AS) to evaluate spatial and temporal correlations from 2002–2010. The high accumulation rate (~39 g∙cm–2∙yr–1) provides monthly resolved records of MSA and Cl–, allowing detailed investigation of how regional SIC is recorded in the ice-sheet stratigraphy. Over the period 2002–2010 we find that the ice-sheet chemistry is significantly correlated with SIC variability within the AS and Pine Island Bay polynyas. Based on this result, we evaluate the use of ice-core chemistry as a proxy for interannual polynya variability in this region, one of the largest and most persistent polynya areas in Antarctica. MSA concentrations correlate strongly with summer SIC within the polynya regions, consistent with MSA at this site being derived from marine biological productivity during the spring and summer. Cl– concentrations correlate strongly with winter SIC within the polynyas as well as some regions outside the polynyas, consistent with Cl– at this site originating primarily from winter sea-ice formation. Spatial correlations were generally insignificant outside of the polynya areas, with some notable exceptions. Ice-core glaciochemical records from this dynamic region thus may provide a proxy for reconstructing AS and Pine Island Bay polynya variability prior to the satellite era.
  • Article
    Real-time analysis of insoluble particles in glacial ice using single-particle mass spectrometry
    (Copernicus Publications on behalf of the European Geosciences Union, 2017-11-21) Osman, Matthew B. ; Zawadowicz, Maria ; Das, Sarah B. ; Cziczo, Daniel J.
    Insoluble aerosol particles trapped in glacial ice provide insight into past climates, but analysis requires information on climatically relevant particle properties, such as size, abundance, and internal mixing. We present a new analytical method using a time-of-flight single-particle mass spectrometer (SPMS) to determine the composition and size of insoluble particles in glacial ice over an aerodynamic size range of  ∼  0.2–3.0 µm diameter. Using samples from two Greenland ice cores, we developed a procedure to nebulize insoluble particles suspended in melted ice, evaporate condensed liquid from those particles, and transport them to the SPMS for analysis. We further determined size-dependent extraction and instrument transmission efficiencies to investigate the feasibility of determining particle-class-specific mass concentrations. We find SPMS can be used to provide constraints on the aerodynamic size, composition, and relative abundance of most insoluble particulate classes in ice core samples. We describe the importance of post-aqueous processing to particles, a process which occurs due to nebulization of aerosols from an aqueous suspension of originally soluble and insoluble aerosol components. This study represents an initial attempt to use SPMS as an emerging technique for the study of insoluble particulates in ice cores.
  • Article
    Constraints on the lake volume required for hydro-fracture through ice sheets
    (American Geophysical Union, 2009-05-16) Krawczynski, Michael J. ; Behn, Mark D. ; Das, Sarah B. ; Joughin, Ian
    Water-filled cracks are an effective mechanism to drive hydro-fractures through thick ice sheets. Crack geometry is therefore critical in assessing whether a supraglacial lake contains a sufficient volume of water to keep a crack water-filled until it reaches the bed. In this study, we investigate fracture propagation using a linear elastic fracture mechanics model to calculate the dimensions of water-filled cracks beneath supraglacial lakes. We find that the cross-sectional area of water-filled cracks increases non-linearly with ice sheet thickness. Using these results, we place volumetric constraints on the amount of water necessary to drive cracks through ∼1 km of sub-freezing ice. For ice sheet regions under little tension, lakes larger than 0.25–0.80 km in diameter contain sufficient water to rapidly drive hydro-fractures through 1–1.5 km of subfreezing ice. This represents ∼98% of the meltwater volume held in supraglacial lakes in the central western margin of the Greenland Ice Sheet.
  • Article
    Limits to future expansion of surface-melt-enhanced ice flow into the interior of western Greenland
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2015-03-24) Poinar, Kristin ; Joughin, Ian ; Das, Sarah B. ; Behn, Mark D. ; Lenaerts, Jan T. M. ; van den Broeke, Michiel R.
    Moulins are important conduits for surface meltwater to reach the bed of the Greenland Ice Sheet. It has been proposed that in a warming climate, newly formed moulins associated with the inland migration of supraglacial lakes could introduce surface melt to new regions of the bed, introducing or enhancing sliding there. By examining surface strain rates, we found that the upper limit to where crevasses, and therefore moulins, are likely to form is ~1600 m. This is also roughly the elevation above which lakes do not drain completely. Thus, meltwater above this elevation will largely flow tens of kilometers through surface streams into existing moulins downstream. Furthermore, results from a thermal ice sheet model indicate that the ~1600 m crevassing limit is well below the wet-frozen basal transition (~2000 m). Together, these data sets suggest that new supraglacial lakes will have a limited effect on the inland expansion of melt-induced seasonal acceleration.
  • Article
    Tropical Pacific influence on the source and transport of marine aerosols to West Antarctica
    (American Meteorological Society, 2014-02-01) Criscitiello, Alison S. ; Das, Sarah B. ; Karnauskas, Kristopher B. ; Evans, Matthew J. ; Frey, Karen E. ; Joughin, Ian ; Steig, Eric J. ; McConnell, Joseph R. ; Medley, Brooke
    The climate of West Antarctica is strongly influenced by remote forcing from the tropical Pacific. For example, recent surface warming over West Antarctica reflects atmospheric circulation changes over the Amundsen Sea, driven by an atmospheric Rossby wave response to tropical sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies. Here, it is demonstrated that tropical Pacific SST anomalies also influence the source and transport of marine-derived aerosols to the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Using records from four firn cores collected along the Amundsen coast of West Antarctica, the relationship between sea ice–modulated chemical species and large-scale atmospheric variability in the tropical Pacific from 1979 to 2010 is investigated. Significant correlations are found between marine biogenic aerosols and sea salts, and SST and sea level pressure in the tropical Pacific. In particular, La Niña–like conditions generate an atmospheric Rossby wave response that influences atmospheric circulation over Pine Island Bay. Seasonal regression of atmospheric fields on methanesulfonic acid (MSA) reveals a reduction in onshore wind velocities in summer at Pine Island Bay, consistent with enhanced katabatic flow, polynya opening, and coastal dimethyl sulfide production. Seasonal regression of atmospheric fields on chloride (Cl−) reveals an intensification in onshore wind velocities in winter, consistent with sea salt transport from offshore source regions. Both the source and transport of marine aerosols to West Antarctica are found to be modulated by similar atmospheric dynamics in response to remote forcing. Finally, the regional ice-core array suggests that there is both a temporally and a spatially varying response to remote tropical forcing.