Articles | Volume 17, issue 3
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed underthe Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Exploring the role of snow metamorphism on the isotopic composition of the surface snow at EastGRIP
- Final revised paper (published on 10 Mar 2023)
- Preprint (discussion started on 25 Nov 2021)
Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor |
: Report abuse
RC1: 'Comment on tc-2021-344', Dorothea Elisabeth Moser, 20 Dec 2021
- AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Romilly Harris Stuart, 21 Feb 2022
RC2: 'Review of tc-2021-344', Florent Dominé, 21 Dec 2021
- AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Romilly Harris Stuart, 21 Feb 2022
Peer review completion
AR: Author's response | RR: Referee report | ED: Editor decision | EF: Editorial file upload
ED: Publish subject to revisions (further review by editor and referees) (09 Mar 2022) by Melody Sandells
AR by Romilly Harris Stuart on behalf of the Authors (01 Jun 2022) Author's response Author's tracked changes Manuscript
ED: Publish subject to minor revisions (review by editor) (22 Jun 2022) by Melody Sandells
AR by Romilly Harris Stuart on behalf of the Authors (29 Jun 2022) Author's response Author's tracked changes Manuscript
ED: Publish subject to revisions (further review by editor and referees) (18 Jul 2022) by Melody Sandells
AR by Romilly Harris Stuart on behalf of the Authors (20 Jul 2022) Author's response Author's tracked changes Manuscript
ED: Referee Nomination & Report Request started (21 Jul 2022) by Melody Sandells
RR by Florent Dominé (02 Aug 2022)
RR by Dorothea Elisabeth Moser (13 Aug 2022)
ED: Publish subject to revisions (further review by editor and referees) (04 Sep 2022) by Melody Sandells
AR by Romilly Harris Stuart on behalf of the Authors (30 Oct 2022) Author's response Author's tracked changes Manuscript
ED: Publish subject to technical corrections (22 Nov 2022) by Melody Sandells
AR by Romilly Harris Stuart on behalf of the Authors (29 Nov 2022) Manuscript
Using daily snow structure and isotope measurements at the EastGRIP site during the summer field seasons 2017-2019, Stuart et al. investigate the near-surface post-depositional processes that affect specific surface area (SSA) and stable water isotopes (SWI), especially d18O and d-excess. They use the empirical SSA data, i.e. the linear regression of SSA decay rate over absolute SSA values, to derive a SSA decay model equation specific to this site. Key conclusions from this paper are: (1) deuterium excess co-develops with SSA during rapid decay events, (2) post-depositional conditions at the study site affect both parameters, (3) a simple use of deuterium excess as moisture source proxy is not backed by their observations.
I consider this study within the scope of The Cryosphere, as a new data set of surface snow SSA over three summer seasons allows for new insights into the proxy signal formation processes at EastGRIP. The matter discussed is of large relevance to the wider ice core community, because it propels the discussion about how to interpret deuterium excess as a climate proxy at this and other polar sites. Furthermore, the development of a simple SSA decay model will aid the description of surface snow metamorphism elsewhere, if extensive measurement campaigns are unavailable.
Major and detailed comments
First and foremost, I think that the observations of Stuart et al. have the potential to make a significant contribution to ice core proxy development and improve the interpretation of ice core records. However, the findings need to be articulated more precisely and presented with a clearer outline. In the following paragraphs, I want to make some suggestions for each chapter on how this could be achieved.
In my opinion, the introduction needs a more stringent train of thought to lead readers into the topic more smoothly. At the start, a broader introduction to the importance of proper ice core proxy use, and especially the relevance of this study in this wider context, would help to gain the readers’ attention for this work. In this regard, L28-29, L46-50, L58-61, L67-69 are already interesting hooks, on which you could expand, so that the importance of your work is explicitly stated. I would further recommend a broader climate description of the study site, because this is something the authors rely on later during the interpretation of results (e.g. L375).
To me, the method description could be improved by going from large-scale site and study setup to detailed sampling steps in the field. In section 2.5.1., the definition of a decay event is not entirely clear to me.
When it comes to the presentation of results, certain parts of the description appear repetitive (e.g. L270-273), while major conclusions are only mentioned once and are not stated clearly enough (e.g. L283-285). Your work is really interesting, so that I would like to see (1) a concise description of all records of relevance, (2) a step-by-step line of interpretation, in which your outcomes become more visible. At the moment, the measured results and their interpretation are often mixed and the sub-division into chapters not very clear. Moreover, the chosen language is sometimes vague, leaving out important details which allow the reader to know exactly which parameter you are talking of (e.g. L240-249). I would recommend making the descriptions as precise and specific as possible, e.g. in L87 ‘the specific sampling dates’ would be better.
The discussion could benefit from a wider literature context.
Especially, the last paragraph of the conclusion contains important findings. I wish to see the last statement (L426-428) put for discussion with the same clarity earlier in the manuscript. Then, the conclusion will become a summary.
When it comes to supplementary material, I could imagine a more detailed presentation of the AWS data to be helpful for readers as a meteorological background for this study. Figure A1 is already a good start, which a bit more of a description would help.
Though I think that this draft requires major revisions, I consider the content of interest for the readers of TC and look forward to an edited version of this manuscript. Until then, merry Christmas!
Please go through the entire manuscript once more and check: