Evans Matthew J.

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Matthew J.

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  • 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
    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.
  • Article
    Methanesulfonic acid (MSA) migration in polar ice : data synthesis and theory
    (Copernicus Publications on behalf of the European Geosciences Union, 2017-11-03) Osman, Matthew B. ; Das, Sarah B. ; Marchal, Olivier ; Evans, Matthew J.
    Methanesulfonic acid (MSA; CH3SO3H) in polar ice is a unique proxy of marine primary productivity, synoptic atmospheric transport, and regional sea-ice behavior. However, MSA can be mobile within the firn and ice matrix, a post-depositional process that is well known but poorly understood and documented, leading to uncertainties in the integrity of the MSA paleoclimatic signal. Here, we use a compilation of 22 ice core MSA records from Greenland and Antarctica and a model of soluble impurity transport in order to comprehensively investigate the vertical migration of MSA from summer layers, where MSA is originally deposited, to adjacent winter layers in polar ice. We find that the shallowest depth of MSA migration in our compilation varies over a wide range (∼ 2 to 400 m) and is positively correlated with snow accumulation rate and negatively correlated with ice concentration of Na+ (typically the most abundant marine cation). Although the considered soluble impurity transport model provides a useful mechanistic framework for studying MSA migration, it remains limited by inadequate constraints on key physico-chemical parameters – most notably, the diffusion coefficient of MSA in cold ice (DMS). We derive a simplified version of the model, which includes DMS as the sole parameter, in order to illuminate aspects of the migration process. Using this model, we show that the progressive phase alignment of MSA and Na+ concentration peaks observed along a high-resolution West Antarctic core is most consistent with 10−12 m2 s−1 < DMS < 10−11 m2 s−1, which is 1 order of magnitude greater than the DMS values previously estimated from laboratory studies. More generally, our data synthesis and model results suggest that (i) MSA migration may be fairly ubiquitous, particularly at coastal and (or) high-accumulation regions across Greenland and Antarctica; and (ii) can significantly change annual and multiyear MSA concentration averages. Thus, in most cases, caution should be exercised when interpreting polar ice core MSA records, although records that have undergone severe migration could still be useful for inferring decadal and lower-frequency climate variability.
  • Article
    Seasonally resolved ice core records from West Antarctica indicate a sea ice source of sea-salt aerosol and a biomass burning source of ammonium
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2014-07-21) Pasteris, Daniel R. ; McConnell, Joseph R. ; Das, Sarah B. ; Criscitiello, Alison S. ; Evans, Matthew J. ; Maselli, Olivia J. ; Sigl, Michael ; Layman, Lawrence
    The sources and transport pathways of aerosol species in Antarctica remain uncertain, partly due to limited seasonally resolved data from the harsh environment. Here, we examine the seasonal cycles of major ions in three high-accumulation West Antarctic ice cores for new information regarding the origin of aerosol species. A new method for continuous acidity measurement in ice cores is exploited to provide a comprehensive, charge-balance approach to assessing the major non-sea-salt (nss) species. The average nss-anion composition is 41% sulfate (SO42−), 36% nitrate (NO3−), 15% excess-chloride (ExCl−), and 8% methanesulfonic acid (MSA). Approximately 2% of the acid-anion content is neutralized by ammonium (NH4+), and the remainder is balanced by the acidity (Acy ≈ H+ − HCO3−). The annual cycle of NO3− shows a primary peak in summer and a secondary peak in late winter/spring that are consistent with previous air and snow studies in Antarctica. The origin of these peaks remains uncertain, however, and is an area of active research. A high correlation between NH4+ and black carbon (BC) suggests that a major source of NH4+ is midlatitude biomass burning rather than marine biomass decay, as previously assumed. The annual peak in excess chloride (ExCl−) coincides with the late-winter maximum in sea ice extent. Wintertime ExCl− is correlated with offshore sea ice concentrations and inversely correlated with temperature from nearby Byrd station. These observations suggest that the winter peak in ExCl− is an expression of fractionated sea-salt aerosol and that sea ice is therefore a major source of sea-salt aerosol in the region.