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Diffusive Equilibration of N2, O2 and Co2 Mixing Ratios in a 1.5 Million Years Old Ice Core : Volume 7, Issue 3 (17/05/2013)

By Bereiter, B.

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Book Id: WPLBN0004022837
Format Type: PDF Article :
File Size: Pages 32
Reproduction Date: 2015

Title: Diffusive Equilibration of N2, O2 and Co2 Mixing Ratios in a 1.5 Million Years Old Ice Core : Volume 7, Issue 3 (17/05/2013)  
Author: Bereiter, B.
Volume: Vol. 7, Issue 3
Language: English
Subject: Science, Cryosphere, Discussions
Collections: Periodicals: Journal and Magazine Collection (Contemporary), Copernicus GmbH
Publication Date:
Publisher: Copernicus Gmbh, Göttingen, Germany
Member Page: Copernicus Publications


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Stocker, T. F., Fischer, H., Schwander, J., & Bereiter, B. (2013). Diffusive Equilibration of N2, O2 and Co2 Mixing Ratios in a 1.5 Million Years Old Ice Core : Volume 7, Issue 3 (17/05/2013). Retrieved from

Description: Climate and Environmental Physics, Physics Institute, University of Bern, Sidlerstrasse 5, 3012 Bern, Switzerland. In the framework of the International Partnerships in Ice Core Sciences, one of the most important target is to retrieve an Antarctic ice core that extends over the last 1.5 million years, i.e. an ice core that enters the climate era when glacial-interglacial cycles followed the obliquity cycles of the sun. In such an ice core the annual layers of the oldest ice would be thinned by a factor of about 100 and the climatic information of a 10 000 yr interval would be contained in less than 1m of ice. The gas record in such an Antarctic ice core can potentially reveal the role of greenhouse gas forcing on these 40 000 yr cycles. However, besides the extreme thinning of the annual layers, also the long residence time of the trapped air in the ice and the relatively high ice temperatures near the bedrock favour diffusive exchanges. To investigate the changes in the O2/N2 ratio, as well as the trapped CO2 concentrations, we modelled the diffusive exchange of the trapped gases O2, N2 and CO2 along the vertical axis. Even though the boundary conditions of a potential drilling site are not yet well constrained and the uncertainties in the permeation coefficients of the air constituents in the ice are large, the results suggest that in the oldest ice the precessional variations in the O2/N2 ratio will be damped by 50–100%, whereas CO2 concentration changes associated with glacial-interglacial variations will experience a damping of only 5%. This significant attenuation of the precessional O2/N2 signal in the ice older than 1 Myr will limit the possibility to use the O2/N2 ratio for orbital tuning of the ice core age scale.

Diffusive equilibration of N2, O2 and CO2 mixing ratios in a 1.5 million years old ice core

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