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Empreinte isotopique et histoire du volcanisme stratosphérique des 2600 dernières années, enregistrées à Dôme C, Antarctique

Abstract : Polar ice has proved to be a very valuable way to access Earth’s volcanism history, and a large number of volcanic reconstructions are based on ice-core analysis. Reconstructions are fed into climate forcing models in order to estimate volcanic cooling effect, resulting from the interactions between volcanic sulfuric acid aerosols and incident solar radiations. In this type of reconstruction, determining the potential impact of an eruption is a key step. It usually relies on the identification of its signal in both polar caps (bipolar signal). This wide spatial distribution indeed reflects a significant residence time in the stratosphere, and thus a sizable impact on climate. However, ice cores offer an interesting alternative to this method: the analysis of volcanic sulfates reveals a mass independent fractionation of sulfur (S-MIF) in the aerosols formed in the stratosphere, allowing us to discriminate between low climatic impact (tropospheric) and high climatic impact eruptions (stratospheric). Studying the unusual isotopic signature of stratospheric aerosols simultaneously allows for constraining photochemical mechanisms responsible for this anomaly (Δ33S ≠ 0), which are currently only partially identified. In 2010-2011, 5 100m-cores were drilled at Dome C, Antarctica in order to reconstruct a history of stratospheric volcanic over the past 2500 years, by the isotopic method. Drilling 5 replicate cores, 1 m apart, allowed us to study various aspects of the reconstruction. Firstly, we were able to assess the sulfate deposition variability on a local scale, and therefore the statistical representativeness of a single core in a volcanic reconstruction. Sulfate concentration analysis of the 5 cores reveals that local scale variability, essentially attributed to snow drift and surface roughness at Dome C, can lead to a non-exhaustive record of volcanic events if a single core is used; on average 30% of the volcanic events are missing per core, and the uncertainty on the volcanic flux (up to 60%) is substantial. Secondly, our detailed analysis (temporal resolution of each eruption) has allowed us to more accurately describe the stratospheric S-MIF signature. Implications on current atmospheric chemistry are evaluated through the set of trends obtained in our samples. We used a simple model implemented with fractionation factors available in the literature to account for the isotopic pattern observed on volcanic sulfate deposition. Through this tool, we evaluated the respective proportions of the different mechanisms assumed to take part in the oxidation process (mass dependent vs. mass independent processes, self-shielding vs. spectral isotopic effect) needed to reproduce natural data, in the current state of experimental knowledge. Finally, the systematic analysis of the isotopic composition (Δ33S) in volcanic events has allowed us to establish a history of the stratospheric volcanism recorded in Dome C in the last 2600 years. Through the isotopic method, in most cases we confirmed the tropical origin of volcanic events as reported in the literature. Discrepancies hinted at high latitude stratospheric events, but the synchronization between North and South Pole records recently established is not questioned. The results also validate the use of the isotopic method to identify stratospheric eruptions in a glacial record.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, April 20, 2016 - 11:05:54 AM
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Elsa Gautier. Empreinte isotopique et histoire du volcanisme stratosphérique des 2600 dernières années, enregistrées à Dôme C, Antarctique. Océan, Atmosphère. Université Grenoble Alpes, 2015. Français. ⟨tel-01304700⟩

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