Evidence for stratigraphic distortion in the Greenland Ice Core Project (GRIP) ice core during Event 5e1 (120 kyr BP) from gas isotopes

Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 109, D06103, doi:10.1029/2003JD004193, 2004

A. Landais, N. Caillon, J. Jouzel and V. Masson-Delmotte
Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, CEA-CNRS, Gif-sur-Yvette, France
J.P. Steffensen
Geofysisk Afdeling, Niels Bohr Instituttet for Astronomi, Fysik og Geofysik, Københavns Universitet
J. Schwander
Climate and Environmental Physics, Physics Institute, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland

The disturbed stratigraphy of the ice in the lowest 10% of the Greenland GRIP ice core has been previously demonstrated using gas measurements (δ18O of O2 and CH4) on a few meters depth scale. However, rapid ice isotopic variations (on the scale of 20 cm) are experienced in the bottom of the GRIP ice core with complex chemical signatures that make them difficult to reconcile with a disturbed stratigraphy of the ice. This is the case for event 5e1, first described as a dramatic cooling 120 kyr BP. We analyzed at a 5 cm resolution the isotopic composition of the air from 2 m of the GRIP bottom ice core covering event 5e1. The δ15N measurements, combined with a basic firn modeling, lead to the solid conclusion that the rapid event 5e1 is not a climatic event. Rapid variations of δ18O of O218Oatm) are in agreement with a disturbed ice stratigraphy. However, the double peak shape of the δ18Oatm, recalling chemical data at the same depth, requires processes of diffusion after the mixing or even postcoring, placing limits to the interpretation of some classical paleoclimatic proxies in small scale mixed ice (<1 m).