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A 2000 Year Saharan Dust Event Proxy Record from an Ice Core in the European Alps

LOVELUCK, CHRISTOPHER; Clifford, Heather M.; Spaulding, Nicole E.; Kurbatov, Andrei V.; More, Alexander ; Korotkikh, Elena V.; Sneed, Sharon B.; Handley, Michael ; Maasch, Kirk A.; Loveluck, Christopher P.; Chaplin, Joyce; McCormick, Michael; Mayewski, Paul A.



Heather M. Clifford

Nicole E. Spaulding

Andrei V. Kurbatov

Alexander More

Elena V. Korotkikh

Sharon B. Sneed

Michael Handley

Kirk A. Maasch

Christopher P. Loveluck

Joyce Chaplin

Michael McCormick

Paul A. Mayewski


Heather M Clifford

Nicole E Spaulding

Andrei V Kurbatov

Alexander F More

Elena V Korotkikh

Sharon B Sneed

Michael J Handley

Kirk A Maasch

Christopher P Loveluck

Joyce Chaplin

Michael McCormick


Dust events originating from the Saharan desert have far reaching environmental impacts but the causal mechanism of magnitude and occurrence of Saharan dust events (SDEs) during the pre‐instrumental era requires further research, particularly as a potential analog for future climate. Using an ultra‐high resolution glacio‐chemical record from the 2013 Colle Gnifetti (CG) ice core drilled in the Swiss‐Italian Alps we reconstructed a 2000 year‐long summer Saharan dust record. We analyzed both modern (1780‐2006) and pre‐modern Common Era (C.E.) major and trace element records to determine air mass source regions to the Colle Gnifetti glacier and assess similarities to modern and reconstructed climate trends in the Northern Hemisphere. This new pSDE (proxy SDE) reconstruction, produced using measurements from a novel, continuous ultra‐high‐resolution (120‐μm) ice core analysis method (laser ablation‐inductively coupled plasma‐mass spectrometer or LA‐ICP‐MS) is comprised of 316,000 data points per element covering the period 1 to 1820 C.E. We found that the CG ice core captures an anomalous increase in Saharan dust transport during the onset of the Medieval Climate Anomaly (870‐1000 C.E.) and records other prominent shorter events (C.E., 140‐170, 370‐450, 1320‐1370, and 1910‐2000), offering a framework for new insights into the implications of Saharan dust variability.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Dec 16, 2019
Journal Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Electronic ISSN 2169-8996
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 124
Issue 23
Pages 12882-12900
APA6 Citation Clifford, H. M., Spaulding, N. E., Kurbatov, A. V., More, A. F., Korotkikh, E. V., Sneed, S. B., …Mayewski, P. A. (2019). A 2000 Year Saharan Dust Event Proxy Record from an Ice Core in the European Alps. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 124(23), 12882-12900.
Keywords Saharan Dust; Ice Core; Laser Ablation
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