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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2014-12-17
    Description: Interior Antarctica is among the most remote places on Earth and was thought to be beyond the reach of human impacts when Amundsen and Scott raced to the South Pole in 1911. Here we show detailed measurements from an extensive array of 16 ice cores quantifying substantial toxic heavy metal lead pollution at South Pole and throughout Antarctica by 1889 – beating polar explorers by more than 22 years. Unlike the Arctic where lead pollution peaked in the 1970s, lead pollution in Antarctica was as high in the early 20th century as at any time since industrialization. The similar timing and magnitude of changes in lead deposition across Antarctica, as well as the characteristic isotopic signature of Broken Hill lead found throughout the continent, suggest that this single emission source in southern Australia was responsible for the introduction of lead pollution into Antarctica at the end of the 19th century and remains a significant source today. An estimated 660 t of industrial lead have been deposited over Antarctica during the past 130 years as a result of mid-latitude industrial emissions, with regional-to-global scale circulation likely modulating aerosol concentrations. Despite abatement efforts, significant lead pollution in Antarctica persists into the 21st century.
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
    Type: Article , NonPeerReviewed
    Format: application/pdf
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2017-10-18
    Description: Efforts to extract a Greenland ice core with a complete record of the Eemian interglacial (130,000 to 115,000 years ago) have until now been unsuccessful. The response of the Greenland ice sheet to the warmer-than-present climate of the Eemian has thus remained unclear. Here we present the new North Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling (‘NEEM’) ice core and show only a modest ice-sheet response to the strong warming in the early Eemian. We reconstructed the Eemian record from folded ice using globally homogeneous parameters known from dated Greenland and Antarctic ice-core records. On the basis of water stable isotopes, NEEM surface temperatures after the onset of the Eemian (126,000 years ago) peaked at 8 ± 4 degrees Celsius above the mean of the past millennium, followed by a gradual cooling that was probably driven by the decreasing summer insolation. Between 128,000 and 122,000 years ago, the thickness of the northwest Greenland ice sheet decreased by 400 ± 250 metres, reaching surface elevations 122,000 years ago of 130 ± 300 metres lower than the present. Extensive surface melt occurred at the NEEM site during the Eemian, a phenomenon witnessed when melt layers formed again at NEEM during the exceptional heat of July 2012. With additional warming, surface melt might become more common in the future.
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
    Type: Article , NonPeerReviewed
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