Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2021-160
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2021-160

  16 Jun 2021

16 Jun 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

Marine diatoms in ice cores from the Antarctic Peninsula and Ellsworth Land, Antarctica – species diversity and regional variability

Dieter R. Tetzner1,2, Elizabeth R. Thomas1, and Claire S. Allen1 Dieter R. Tetzner et al.
  • 1British Antarctic Survey, Ice Dynamics and Paleoclimate, Cambridge, CB3 0ET, UK
  • 2Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, CB2 3EQ, UK

Abstract. The presence of marine microfossils (diatoms) in glacier ice and ice cores has been documented from numerous sites in Antarctica, Greenland, as well as from sites in the Andes and the Altai mountains, and attributed to entrainment and transport by winds. However, their presence and diversity in snow and ice, especially in polar regions, is not well documented and still poorly understood. Here we present the first data to resolve the regional and temporal distribution of diatoms in ice cores, spanning a 20 year period across four sites in the southern Antarctic Peninsula and Ellsworth Land, Antarctica. We assess the regional variability in diatom composition and abundance at annual and sub-annual resolution across all four sites. These data corroborate the dominance of contemporary marine diatoms in Antarctic Peninsula ice cores, reveal that the timing and amount of diatoms deposited vary between low and high elevation sites and support existing evidence that marine diatoms have the potential to yield a novel wind paleoenvironmental proxy for ice cores in the southern Antarctic Peninsula and Ellsworth Land.

Dieter R. Tetzner et al.

Status: open (until 11 Aug 2021)

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Dieter R. Tetzner et al.

Dieter R. Tetzner et al.

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Short summary
The presence of diatoms in Antarctic ice cores has been scarcely documented and poorly understood. Here we present a detailed analysis of the spatial and temporal distribution of the diatom record preserved in a set of Antarctic ice cores. Our results reveal that the timing and amount of diatoms deposited present a strong geographical division. This study highlights the potential of the diatom record preserved in Antarctic ice cores to provide useful information about past environmental changes.