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U from dust in the ice matrix can be used to provide an additional core chronology.
The thickness of the annual layers in ice cores can be used to derive a precipitation rate (after correcting for thinning by glacier flow).
Seasonal differences in the snow properties create layers – just like rings in trees.
Unfortunately, annual layers become harder to see deeper in the ice core.
It must have a suitable freezing point and viscosity.
The presence of a “Little Ice Age”, a cooler period ending ~100 to 150 years ago, is contested in Antarctica. This section contains 11 annual layers with summer layers (arrowed) sandwiched between darker winter layers. From the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Wikimedia Commons. By looking at past concentrations of greenhouse gasses in layers in ice cores, scientists can calculate how modern amounts of carbon dioxide and methane compare to those of the past, and, essentially, compare past concentrations of greenhouse gasses to temperature. Ice cores have been drilled in ice sheets worldwide, but notably in Greenland and Antarctica[4, 5].
* Solar variation at 65°N due to en: Milankovitch cycles (connected to 18O). Ice core records allow us to generate continuous reconstructions of past climate, going back at least 800,000 years.
If we want to reconstruct past air temperatures, one of the most critical parameters is the age of the ice being analysed.