Articles | Volume 12, issue 1
The Cryosphere, 12, 169–187, 2018
The Cryosphere, 12, 169–187, 2018

Research article 17 Jan 2018

Research article | 17 Jan 2018

On the similarity and apparent cycles of isotopic variations in East Antarctic snow pits

Thomas Laepple et al.

Data sets

Stable water isotopes measured along two snow trenches sampled at Kohnen Station, Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica in the 2014/15 field season T. Münch, S. Kipfstuhl, J. Freitag, H. Meyer, and T. Laepple

Model code and software

Compilation of stable isotope data from East Antarctic snow pits and firn cores T. Laepple, T. Münch, M. Casado, M. Hörhold, A. Landais, and S. Kipfstuhl

Short summary
We explain why snow pits across different sites in East Antarctica show visually similar isotopic variations. We argue that the similarity and the apparent cycles of around 20  cm in the δD and δ18O variations are the result of a seasonal cycle in isotopes, noise, for example from precipitation intermittency, and diffusion. The near constancy of the diffusion length across many ice-coring sites explains why the structure and cycle length is largely independent of the accumulation conditions.