Regional and temporal variation of accumulation around NorthGRIP derived from ground-penetrating radar

Annals of Glaciology, Vol. 42, Number 1, pp. 326-330(5), 2005

D. Steinhage and O. Eisen
Alfred-Wegener-Institut für Polar- und Meeresforschung, Columbusstrasse, D-27568 Bremerhaven, Germany.
H.B. Clausen
Ice and Climate, The Niels Bohr Institute, Juliane Maries Vej 30, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark

During the summer of 2003, a ground-penetrating radar survey around the North Greenland Icecore Project (NorthGRIP) deep ice-core drilling site (75o06'N, 42o20'W; 2957 m a.s.l.) was carried out using a shielded 250 MHz radar system. The drill site is located on an ice divide, roughly 300 km north-northwest of the summit of the Greenland ice sheet. More than 430 km of profiles were measured, covering a 10 km by 10 km area, with a grid centered on the drilling location, and eight profiles extending beyond this grid. Seven internal horizons within the upper 120 m of the ice sheet were continuously tracked, containing the last 400 years of accumulation history. Based on the age-depth and density-depth distribution of the deep core, the internal layers have been dated and the regional and temporal distribution of accumulation rate in the vicinity of NorthGRIP has been derived. The distribution of accumulation shows a relatively smoothly increasing trend from east to west from 145 kg m-2 a-1 to 200 kg m-2 a-1 over a distance of 50 km across the ice divide. The general trend is overlain by small-scale variations on the order of 2.5 kg m-2 a-1 km-1, i.e. around 1.5% of the accumulation mean. The temporal variations of the seven periods defined by the seven tracked isochrones are on the order of ±4% of the mean of the last 400 years, i.e. at NorthGRIP ±7 kg m-2 a-1. If the regional accumulation pattern has been stable for the last several thousand years during the Holocene, and ice flow has been comparable to today, advective effects along the particle trajectory upstream of NorthGRIP do not have a significant effect on the interpretation of climatically induced changes in accumulation rates derived from the deep ice core over the last 10 kyr.