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https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2020-77
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2020-77
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  07 Apr 2020

07 Apr 2020

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It has been under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC). The manuscript was not accepted for further review after discussion.

Spatial distribution and post-depositional diffusion of stable water isotopes in East Antarctica

Mahalinganathan Kanthanathan, Thamban Meloth, Tariq Ejaz, Bhikaji L. Redkar, and Laluraj C. Madhavanpillai Mahalinganathan Kanthanathan et al.
  • National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research, Headland Sada, Vasco-da-Gama, Goa – 403804

Abstract. We have analysed the spatial variations in the mean stable water isotopic values, snow accumulation patterns and moisture sources along coast to inland transects in central Dronning Maud Land (cDML) and Princess Elizabeth Land (PEL) regions of East Antarctica. The δD and δ18O varied systematically from coastal to inland regions in cDML and PEL regions in response to the surface air temperature. While the elevation effect was not clearly visible, the isotope variations appeared to be associated with snow accumulation in cDML region and temperature in PEL region, which ultimately are associated with elevation. Further, a clear influence of topography on the snow accumulation was observed in cDML region. Such an observation was not recorded in PEL transect, apparently due to the strong snow redistribution in this region due to katabatic winds. The moisture sources to the study areas were identified using HYSPLIT backtrajectory calculations. The major sources of precipitation during summer arrived from the south Atlantic ocean in the cDML and the Indian Ocean in PEL. During winter, the sources of precipitation in cDML extended to Weddell Sea while in PEL, the sources extended up to 50° S in the Indian Ocean. In order to understand the post-depositional isotope diffusion processes in firn, a firn core which was drilled close to the cDML transect, five years after the snow core transect, was analysed in comparison with snow records. Our study showed a significant isotope amplitude diffusion with a diffusion length of 6 cm from the surface to 4 m depth in 5 years.

Mahalinganathan Kanthanathan et al.

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Mahalinganathan Kanthanathan et al.

Mahalinganathan Kanthanathan et al.

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Short summary
We discuss the factors influencing spatial variations of stable water isotopes and snow accumulation from two different sectors – the central Dronning Maud Land and the Princess Elizabeth Land, that are ~ 2000 km apart in East Antarctica using data from short snow cores. Also, we calculated the amount of diffusion in the isotope signals (amplitude) over time from a firn core. Finally, we used back-trajectories to ascertain the moisture source regions during summer and winter periods.
We discuss the factors influencing spatial variations of stable water isotopes and snow...
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