EGU24-6781, updated on 08 Mar 2024
EGU General Assembly 2024
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Late Pliocene and Early Pleistocene CO2 and CH4 from ice cores from the Allan Hills, Antarctica

Julia Marks Peterson1, Sarah Shackleton2, Jeffrey Severinghaus3, Edward Brook1, John Higgins2, Andrei Kurbatov4, Yuzhen Yan5, Christo Buizert1, Michael Kalk1, Ross Beaudette3, Austin Carter3, Jenna Epifanio1, and Jacob Morgan3
Julia Marks Peterson et al.
  • 1Oregon State University, College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, United States of America (
  • 2Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, United States of America
  • 3Scripps Institution of Oceanography, San Diego, California, United States of America
  • 4University of Maine, Orono, Maine, United States of America
  • 5State Key Laboratory of Marine Geology, Tongji University, Shanghai, China

Currently, chronologically discontinuous ice cores from the Allan Hills Blue Ice Area (BIA), Antarctica, are our only direct insight into the atmospheric composition of periods beyond the continuous ice core record (800 ka BP). An accurate and precise greenhouse gas history beyond 800 ka would aid understanding of the mechanisms involved in the climatic transitions across the late Pliocene and early Pleistocene. Here we present carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) results from a new core from the Allan Hills BIA (ALHIC1901). The bottom 25 m of ALHIC1901 contain 52 sampled depths with co-registered 40Aratm dates (Shackleton et al. in prep), measurements of δD of ice, δ18Oatm, and concentrations of CO2 and CH4 in trapped air. Of these samples, 25 are older than the continuous ice core record, with ages from 821 ± 80 ka to 2700 ± 270 ka. The bottom meter contains ice from the Pliocene with ages from 2700 ± 270 ka to 4000 ± 400 ka. The carbon isotope ratio of CO213C-CO2) was measured on 18 samples to examine the possibility of input of non-atmospheric CO2 from oxidation of organic matter. Our results indicate that CO2 and CH4 levels were similar in the early Pleistocene to those found for the last 800 ka. A small decline of approximately 20 ppm is seen in CO2 across the Pleistocene, and no secular trend is observed in CH4. Pliocene-aged samples appear to contain a mixture of atmospheric CO2 and CO2 derived from respiration of organic matter at the glacier bed. Using an isotope mixing model we estimate that atmospheric CO2 was lower than 350 ppm at ~3.1 Ma,

How to cite: Marks Peterson, J., Shackleton, S., Severinghaus, J., Brook, E., Higgins, J., Kurbatov, A., Yan, Y., Buizert, C., Kalk, M., Beaudette, R., Carter, A., Epifanio, J., and Morgan, J.: Late Pliocene and Early Pleistocene CO2 and CH4 from ice cores from the Allan Hills, Antarctica, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-6781,, 2024.