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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2014-10-01
    Description: Typically, gas transport through firn is modeled in the context of an idealized firn column. However, in natural firn, imperfections are present, which can alter transport dynamics and therefore reduce the accuracy of reconstructed climate records. For example, ice layers have been found in several firn cores collected in the polar regions. Here, we examined the effects of two ice layers found in a NEEM, Greenland firn core on gas transport through the firn. These ice layers were found to have permeability values of 3.0 and 4.0 × 10−10 m2, and are therefore not impermeable layers. However, the shallower ice layer was found to be significantly less permeable than the surrounding firn, and can therefore retard gas transport. Large closed bubbles were found in the deeper ice layer, which will have an altered gas composition than that expected because they were closed near the surface after the water phase was present. The bubbles in this layer represent 12% of the expected closed porosity of this firn layer after the firn-ice transition depth is reached, and will therefore bias the future ice core gas record. The permeability and thickness of the ice layers at the North Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling (NEEM) site suggest that they do not disrupt the firn-air concentration profiles and that they do not need to be accounted for in gas transport models at NEEM.
    Print ISSN: 1994-0416
    Electronic ISSN: 1994-0424
    Topics: Geography , Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2013-06-13
    Description: Investigations into the physical characteristics of deep firn near the lock-in zone through pore close-off are needed to improve understanding of ice core records of past atmospheric concentrations. Specifically, the permeability and microstructure profiles of the firn through the diffusive column influence the entrapment of air into bubbles and thus the ice age-gas age difference. The purpose of this study is to examine the nature of pore closure processes at two polar sites with very different local temperatures and accumulation rates. Density, permeability, and microstructure measurements were made on firn cores from WAIS Divide in West Antarctica and Megadunes in East Antarctica. We found that the open pore structure plays a more important role than density in predicting gas transport properties, through the porous firn matrix. For both WAIS Divide and Megadunes, fine grained layers experience close-off shallower in the firn column than do coarse grained layers, regardless of which grain sized layer is the more dense layer at depth. Pore close-off occurs at an open porosity that is accumulation rate dependent. Low accumulation sites, with coarse grains, close-off at lower open porosities (〈 10%) than the open porosity (〉 10%) of high accumulation sites with finer grains. The depth and length of the lock-in zone is primarily dependent upon accumulation rate and microstructural variability due to differences in grain size and pore structure, rather than the density variability of the layers.
    Print ISSN: 1994-0432
    Electronic ISSN: 1994-0440
    Topics: Geography , Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2014-01-13
    Description: Investigations into the physical characteristics of deep firn near the lock-in zone through pore close-off are needed to improve understanding of ice core records of past atmospheric composition. Specifically, the permeability and microstructure profiles of the firn through the diffusive column influence the entrapment of air into bubbles and thus the ice age–gas age difference. The purpose of this study is to examine the nature of pore closure processes at two polar sites with very different local temperatures and accumulation rates. Density, permeability, and microstructure measurements were made on firn cores from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide, a site that has moderate accumulation rates with a seasonal climate archive, and Megadunes in East Antarctica, a site that is a natural laboratory for accumulation rate effects in the cold low-accumulation desert. We found that the open pore structure plays a more important role than density in predicting gas transport properties, throughout the porous firn matrix. For firn below 50 m depth at both WAIS Divide and Megadunes, finer-grained layers experience close-off shallower in the firn column than do coarser-grained layers, regardless of which grain size layer is the denser layer at depth. Pore close-off occurs at a critical open porosity that is accumulation rate dependent. Defining pore close-off at a critical open porosity for a given accumulation rate as opposed to a critical total porosity accounts for the pore space available for gas transport. Below the critical open porosity, the firn becomes impermeable despite having small amounts of interconnected pore space. The low-accumulation sites, with generally coarse grains, close off at lower open porosities (~10%) of high-accumulation sites that have generally finer grains. The microstructure and permeability even near the bottom of the firn column are relic indicators of the nature of accumulation when that firn was at the surface. The physical structure and layering are the primary controlling factors on pore close-off. In contrast to current assumptions for polar firn, the depth and length of the lock-in zone is primarily dependent upon accumulation rate and microstructural variability due to differences in grain size and pore structure, rather than the density variability of the layers.
    Print ISSN: 1994-0416
    Electronic ISSN: 1994-0424
    Topics: Geography , Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2013-06-19
    Description: We studied three-dimensional (3-D) vesicle size distributions by X-ray microtomography in scoria collected during the relatively quiescent Phase II of the 2010 eruption at Eyjafjallajökull volcano, Iceland. Our goal was to compare the vesicle size distributions (VSDs) measured in these samples with those found in Stromboli volcano, Italy. Stromboli was chosen because its VSDs are well-characterized and show a correlation with eruption intensity: typical Strombolian activity produces VSDs with power-law exponents near 1, whereas larger and more energetic Vulcanian-type explosions and Plinian eruptions produce VSDs with power-law exponents near 1.5. The hypothesis to be tested was whether or not the samples studied in this work would contain VSDs similar to normal Strombolian products, display higher power-law exponents, or be described by exponential functions. Before making this comparison we tested the hypothesis that the phreatomagmatic nature of the Eyjafjallajökull eruption might have a significant effect on the VSDs. We performed 1 atm bubble-growth experiments in which the samples were inundated with water and compared them to similar, control, experiments without water inundation. No significant differences between the VSDs of the two sets of experiments were found, and the hypothesis is not supported by the experimental evidence; therefore, VSDs of magmatic and phreatomagmatic eruptions can be directly compared. The Phase II Eyjafjallajökull VSDs are described by power law exponents of ~ 0.8, typical of normal Strombolian eruptions. The comparable VSDs and behavior of Phase II of the Eyjafjallajökull 2010 eruption to Stromboli are interpreted to be a reflection of similar conduit systems in both volcanoes that are being constantly fed by the ascent of deep magma that mixes with resident magma at shallow depths. Such behavior implies that continued activity during Phase II of the Eyjafjallajökull eruption could be expected and would have been predicted, had our VSDs been measured in real time during the eruption. However, the products studied show no peculiar feature that could herald renewed eruption intensity observed in the following Phase III of the eruption.
    Electronic ISSN: 1869-9537
    Topics: Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2015-12-17
    Description: This article presents the scientific rationale for an ambitious ICDP drilling project to continuously sample Late Cretaceous to modern sediment in four different sedimentary basins that transect the equatorial Amazon of Brazil, from the Andean foreland to the Atlantic Ocean. The goals of this project are to document the evolution of plant biodiversity in the Amazon forests and to relate biotic diversification to changes in the physical environment, including climate, tectonism, and the surface landscape. These goals require long sedimentary records from each of the major sedimentary basins across the heart of the Brazilian Amazon, which can only be obtained by drilling because of the scarcity of Cenozoic outcrops. The proposed drilling will provide the first long, nearly continuous regional records of the Cenozoic history of the forests, their plant diversity, and the associated changes in climate and environment. It also will address fundamental questions about landscape evolution, including the history of Andean uplift and erosion as recorded in Andean foreland basins and the development of west-to-east hydrologic continuity between the Andes, the Amazon lowlands, and the equatorial Atlantic. Because many modern rivers of the Amazon basin flow along the major axes of the old sedimentary basins, we plan to locate drill sites on the margin of large rivers and to access the targeted drill sites by navigation along these rivers.
    Print ISSN: 1816-8957
    Electronic ISSN: 1816-3459
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2019-12-03
    Description: The Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 6 (CMIP6) HighResMIP is a new experimental design for global climate model simulations that aims to assess the impact of model horizontal resolution on climate simulation fidelity. We describe a hierarchy of global coupled model resolutions based on the Hadley Centre Global Environment Model 3 – Global Coupled vn 3.1 (HadGEM3-GC3.1) model that ranges from an atmosphere–ocean resolution of 130 km–1∘ to 25 km–1∕12∘, all using the same forcings and initial conditions. In order to make such high-resolution simulations possible, the experiments have a short 30-year spinup, followed by at least century-long simulations with constant forcing to assess drift. We assess the change in model biases as a function of both atmosphere and ocean resolution, together with the effectiveness and robustness of this new experimental design. We find reductions in the biases in top-of-atmosphere radiation components and cloud forcing. There are significant reductions in some common surface climate model biases as resolution is increased, particularly in the Atlantic for sea surface temperature and precipitation, primarily driven by increased ocean resolution. There is also a reduction in drift from the initial conditions both at the surface and in the deeper ocean at higher resolution. Using an eddy-present and eddy-rich ocean resolution enhances the strength of the North Atlantic ocean circulation (boundary currents, overturning circulation and heat transport), while an eddy-present ocean resolution has a considerably reduced Antarctic Circumpolar Current strength. All models have a reasonable representation of El Niño–Southern Oscillation. In general, the biases present after 30 years of simulations do not change character markedly over longer timescales, justifying the experimental design.
    Print ISSN: 1991-959X
    Electronic ISSN: 1991-9603
    Topics: Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2014-02-10
    Description: Typically, gas transport through firn is modeled in the context of an idealized firn column. However, in natural firn, imperfections are present which may alter transport dynamics in ways that may reduce the accuracy of climate records. For example, ice layers have been found in several firn cores collected in the polar regions. Here, we examined the effects of two ice layers found in a NEEM, Greenland firn core on gas transport through the firn. Both ice layers were somewhat permeable. However, only the shallower ice layer was significantly less permeable than the surrounding firn and is therefore likely to retard gas transport. Large closed bubbles were found in one ice layer, which would contain older atmospheric samples than expected. Theses bubbles are likely to significantly bias age estimates. Conversely, the permeability and thickness of ice layers at NEEM suggest that they will not significantly bias the expected firn air concentration profiles at the present spatial resolution at which these data are collected. Therefore, ice layers do not need to be accounted for in gas transport models at NEEM. However, the microstructure of these ice layers indicates that larger melting events could significantly bias ice core records.
    Print ISSN: 1994-0432
    Electronic ISSN: 1994-0440
    Topics: Geography , Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2013-10-18
    Description: We studied three-dimensional (3-D) vesicle size distributions by X-ray microtomography in scoria collected during the relatively quiescent Phase II of the April–May 2010 eruption at Eyjafjallajökull volcano, Iceland. Our goal was to compare cumulative vesicle size distributions (VSDs) measured in these samples with those found in Stromboli volcano, Italy. Stromboli was chosen because its VSDs are well-characterized and show a correlation with eruption intensity: typical Strombolian activity produces VSDs with power-law exponents near 1, whereas larger and more energetic vulcanian-type explosions and Plinian eruptions produce VSDs with power-law exponents near 1.5. The first hypothesis to be tested was whether or not the samples studied in this work would contain VSDs similar to normal Strombolian products, display higher power-law exponents, or be described by exponential functions. Before making this comparison, we tested a second hypothesis, which was that the magma–water interactions in the Eyjafjallajökull eruption might have a significant effect on the VSDs. We performed 1 bar bubble-growth experiments in which the samples were inundated with water and compared them to similar control experiments without water inundation. No significant differences between the VSDs of the two sets of experiments were found, and the second hypothesis is not supported by the experimental evidence. The Phase II Eyjafjallajökull VSDs are described by power-law exponents of ~0.8, typical of normal Strombolian eruptions, and support the first hypothesis. The comparable VSDs and behavior of Phase II of the Eyjafjallajökull 2010 eruption to Stromboli are interpreted to be a reflection of similar conduit systems in both volcanoes that are being constantly fed by the ascent of mingled/mixed magma from depth. Such behavior implies that continued activity during Phase II of the Eyjafjallajökull eruption could be expected and would have been predicted, had our VSDs been measured in real time during the eruption. However, the products studied show no peculiar feature that could herald the renewed eruption intensity observed in the following Phase III of the eruption.
    Print ISSN: 1869-9510
    Electronic ISSN: 1869-9529
    Topics: Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2017-12-01
    Description: Soil moisture plays a critical role in land surface processes and as such there has been a recent increase in the number and resolution of satellite soil moisture observations and the development of land surface process models with ever increasing resolution. Despite these developments, validation and calibration of these products has been limited because of a lack of observations on corresponding scales. A recently developed mobile soil moisture monitoring platform, known as the rover, offers opportunities to overcome this scale issue. This paper describes methods, results and testing of soil moisture estimates produced using rover surveys on a range of scales that are commensurate with model and satellite retrievals. Our investigation involved static cosmic-ray neutron sensors and rover surveys across both broad (36× 36km at 9km resolution) and intensive (10× 10km at 1km resolution) scales in a cropping district in the Mallee region of Victoria, Australia. We describe approaches for converting rover survey neutron counts to soil moisture and discuss the factors controlling soil moisture variability. We use independent gravimetric and modelled soil moisture estimates collected across both space and time to validate rover soil moisture products. Measurements revealed that temporal patterns in soil moisture were preserved through time and regression modelling approaches were utilised to produce time series of property-scale soil moisture which may also have applications in calibration and validation studies or local farm management. Intensive-scale rover surveys produced reliable soil moisture estimates at 1km resolution while broad-scale surveys produced soil moisture estimates at 9km resolution. We conclude that the multiscale soil moisture products produced in this study are well suited to future analysis of satellite soil moisture retrievals and finer-scale soil moisture models.
    Print ISSN: 1027-5606
    Electronic ISSN: 1607-7938
    Topics: Geography , Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2017-06-06
    Description: Cave drip water response to surface meteorological conditions is complex due to the heterogeneity of water movement in the karst unsaturated zone. Previous studies have focused on the monitoring of fractured rock limestones that have little or no primary porosity. In this study, we aim to further understand infiltration water hydrology in the Tamala Limestone of SW Australia, which is Quaternary aeolianite with primary porosity. We build on our previous studies of the Golgotha Cave system and utilize the existing spatial survey of 29 automated cave drip loggers and a LiDAR-based flow classification scheme, conducted in the two main chambers of this cave. We find that a daily sampling frequency at our cave site optimizes the capture of drip variability with least possible sampling artifacts. Most of the drip sites show persistent autocorrelation for at least a month. Drip discharge histograms are highly variable, showing sometimes multimodal distributions. Histogram skewness is shown to relate to the wetter than average 2013 hydrological year and modality is affected by seasonality. Finally, a combination of Multi-dimensional scaling (MDS) and clustering by k-means is used to classify similar drip types based on time series analysis. This clustering reveals four unique drip regimes which agree with the flow type classification of Mahmud et al. (2016) for this site. It highlights a spatial homogeneity in drip types in one cave chamber, and spatial heterogeneity in the other, which is in concordance with our understanding of cave chamber morphology and lithology. Our hydrological classification scheme with respect to mean discharge and the flow variation, can distinguish between groundwater flow types in limestones with primary porosity, and the technique could be used to characterize different karst formations when high-frequency automated drip logger data are available. We observe little difference in the Coefficient of variation (COV) between flow classification types, probably reflecting the dominance of primary porosity at this cave site, and the seasonal variations in discharge related to storage replenishment in winter followed by recession in the periods of soil moisture deficit. Moreover, we do not find any relationship between drip variability and discharge within similar flow type.
    Print ISSN: 1812-2108
    Electronic ISSN: 1812-2116
    Topics: Geography , Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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