17 Oct 2023
 | 17 Oct 2023
Status: this preprint is open for discussion and under review for Climate of the Past (CP).

Past Antarctic summer temperature revealed by total air content in ice cores

Dominique Raynaud, Qiuzhen Yin, Emilie Capron, Zhipeng Wu, Frédéric Parrenin, André Berger, and Vladimir Lipenkov

Abstract. Seasonal temperature reconstructions from ice cores are missing over glacial-interglacial timescales, preventing a good understanding of the driving factors of Antarctic past climate changes. Here the total air content (TAC) record from an Antarctic ice core is analyzed over the last 440 thousand of years (ka). While the water isotopic record, tracer for annual mean surface temperature, exhibits a dominant ~100 ka cyclicity, the TAC record is associated with a dominant ~40 ka cyclicity. Our results show that the TAC record is highly correlated with the mean insolation over the local astronomical half-year summer. It also shows for the first time that it is highly correlated with local summer temperature simulated with an Earth system model of intermediate complexity. This suggests that the Antarctic TAC records could be used as a proxy for local summer temperature changes. Also, our simulations show that local summer insolation is the primary driver of Antarctic summer surface temperature variations while changes in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations and northern hemisphere ice sheet configurations play a more important role on Antarctic annual surface temperature changes.

Dominique Raynaud et al.

Status: open (until 12 Dec 2023)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2360', Anonymous Referee #1, 09 Nov 2023 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2360', Anonymous Referee #2, 17 Nov 2023 reply

Dominique Raynaud et al.

Dominique Raynaud et al.


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Short summary
There is a lack of reconstructions from Antarctic ice cores of the temperature during the summer, a critical season in terms of solar energy received, preventing a good understanding of the link between Antarctic past climate and astronomically-induced insolation changes. Here, the variations of total air content in an Antarctic ice core are found to be correlated to local summer temperatures simulated with a climate model. This tracer can be used to reconstruct past local summer temperature.