EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

What to watch out for when assimilating ice-cores as regional SMB proxies?

Marie G. P. Cavitte1, Hugues Goosse1, Kenichi Matsuoka2, Sarah Wauthy3, Rahul Dey4, Vikram Goel4, Jean-Louis Tison3, Brice Van Liefferinge5, and Thamban Meloth4
Marie G. P. Cavitte et al.
  • 1Earth and Life Institute, Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
  • 2Norwegian Polar Institute, Tromso, Norway
  • 3Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Brussels, Belgium
  • 4National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research, Goa, India
  • 5Non-academic

Ice cores remain the highest resolution proxy for measuring past surface mass balance (SMB) that can be used for model-data comparison. However, there is a clear difference in the spatial resolution of the ice cores, with a surface sample on the order of cm2, and the spatial resolution of models, with at best a surface footprint on the order of a few km2. Comparing ice core SMB records and model SMB outputs directly is therefore not a one-to-one comparison. In addition, it is well known that ice cores, as point measurements, sample very local SMB conditions which can be affected by local wind redistribution of the SMB at the surface.

We set out to answer the question: how representative are ice-cores of regional SMB? For this, we use several ground-penetrating radar (GPR) surveys in East Antarctica, which have co-located ice core drill sites. Most of our sites share a relatively similar climatology, as they are all coastal ice promontories/rises along the Dronning Maud Land coast, with the exception of the Dome Fuji survey on the high plateau in the interior of the continent.

We will show that the comparison of the SMB signals of the GPR and the ice core records allows us to estimate the spatial footprint of the ice cores, and that this spatial footprint varies widely from site to site. We will provide a summary of the spatial and temporal characteristics for each location.

How to cite: Cavitte, M. G. P., Goosse, H., Matsuoka, K., Wauthy, S., Dey, R., Goel, V., Tison, J.-L., Van Liefferinge, B., and Meloth, T.: What to watch out for when assimilating ice-cores as regional SMB proxies?, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-792,, 2023.