Net accumulation rates derived from ice core stable isotope records of Pío XI glacier, Southern Patagonia Icefield
Abstract. Pío XI, the largest glacier of the Southern Patagonia Icefield, reached its neoglacial maximum extent in 1994 and is one of the few glaciers in that area which is not retreating. In view of the recent warming it is important to understand glacier responses to climate changes. Due to its remoteness and the harsh conditions in Patagonia, no systematic mass balance studies have been performed. In this study we derived net accumulation rates for the period 2000–2006 from a 50 m (33.2 4 m weq) ice core collected in the accumulation area of Pío XI (2600 m a.s.l., 49°16'40"S, 73°21'14"W). Borehole temperatures indicate near temperate ice, but the average melt percent is only 16 ± 14%. Records of stable isotopes are well preserved and were used for identification of annual layers. Net accumulation rates range from 3.4–7.1 water equivalent (m weq) with an average of 5.8 m weq, comparable to precipitation amounts at the Chilean coast, but not as high as expected for the Icefield. Ice core stable isotope data correlate well with upper air temperatures and may be used as temperature proxy.