University Of Tasmania
Roberts_2015_snow_accumulation_rates_Law_Dome.pdf (1.18 MB)
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A 2000-year annual record of snow accumulation rates for Law Dome, East Antarctica

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Accurate high-resolution records of snow accumulation rates in Antarctica are crucial for estimating ice sheet mass balance and subsequent sea level change. Snowfall rates at Law Dome, East Antarctica, have been linked with regional atmospheric circulation to the mid-latitudes as well as regional Antarctic snowfall. Here, we extend the length of the Law Dome accumulation record from 750 years to 2035 years, using recent annual layer dating that extends to 22 BCE. Accumulation rates were calculated as the ratio of measured to modelled layer thicknesses, multiplied by the long-term mean accumulation rate. The modelled layer thicknesses were based on a power-law vertical strain rate profile fitted to observed annual layer thickness. The periods 380–442, 727–783 and 1970–2009 CE have above-average snow accumulation rates, while 663–704, 933–975 and 1429–1468 CE were below average, and decadal-scale snow accumulation anomalies were found to be relatively common (74 events in the 2035-year record). The calculated snow accumulation rates show good correlation with atmospheric reanalysis estimates, and significant spatial correlation over a wide expanse of East Antarctica, demonstrating that the Law Dome record captures larger-scale variability across a large region of East Antarctica well beyond the immediate vicinity of the Law Dome summit. Spectral analysis reveals periodicities in the snow accumulation record which may be related to El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO) frequencies.


Publication title

Climate of the Past










Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Copernicus GmbH

Place of publication


Rights statement

Copyright 2015 Author(s) Licenced under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0)

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Effects of climate change on Antarctic and sub-Antarctic environments (excl. social impacts)

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