Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Alison Sara Criscitiello

» Recent West Antarctic Climate Change

» U-Series Ice Dating

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(Alison Criscitiello)

New Observations and Tools to Probe the Marine Influence on the Rapidly Changing West Antarctic Ice Sheet

My research addresses how recent sea-ice and sea-surface temperature (SST) variability influence adjacent ice-sheet chemistry, accumulation rates, temperature and surface melting, and how these parameters have changed through time.  By first exploring ocean/ice relationships through proxy development during the satellite era, I will then reconstruct prior sea-surface conditions and ice-sheet response beyond the satellite era by application of these chemical proxies.  The objective of my research is to answer two key questions:

1. How do recent changes in surface ocean conditions (in particular sea-ice variability and SST) influence the adjacent ice-sheet surface (in particular accumulation rates, temperature and surface melting)? Targeting the rapidly changing Amundsen Sea sector of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS), my focus is on the most recent decades in which high-resolution satellite imagery (over the ocean and ice sheet) and a wide spatial array of ice-sheet surface samples and accumulation estimates are available to understand these relationships.

2. How has this marine influence on the ice-sheet surface changed through time? My work based on observable ocean/ice relationships during the satellite era will contribute to the development of promising, but still unproven, glaciochemical proxies (in particular methanesulfonic acid (MSA) and deuterium excess (dxs)) for past marine conditions. This will allow me to reconstruct a record of prior sea-surface conditions using measurements on ice cores extending beyond the satellite era. 

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