Data Set ID:

Late Holocene Climate Variability, Dry Valleys, Antarctica, Version 1

This data set includes high-resolution ice core records from the Dry Valleys region of Antarctica, and provides interpretations of interannual to decadal-scale climate variability during the last 2000 years (late Holocene). Intermediate-length ice cores (100 to 200 meters) were drilled at four sites along transects in the Taylor and Wright valleys, and analyzed for stable isotopes and major ions. The data set includes high-resolution ice core data for each study site. It also includes mass balance, borehole temperature, and snowpit data for each site, and Global Positioning System (GPS) velocity data for some of the sites. Snow pit data from three additional sites in the same region is also available. Data are available via FTP, in Microsoft Excel (.xls), ASCII text (.txt), and Microsoft Word (.doc) file formats.

NSIDC does not archive these data.

  • Glaciers/Ice Sheets > Glaciers > GLACIERS
  • Glaciers/Ice Sheets
  • Glaciers/Ice Sheets > Ice Sheets > ICE SHEETS
  • Snow/Ice > SNOW/ICE
  • Snow/Ice > Snow/Ice Chemistry > SNOW/ICE CHEMISTRY
  • Snow/Ice > Snow/Ice Temperature > SNOW/ICE TEMPERATURE
Data Format(s):
  • Excel
  • Word
Spatial Coverage:
N: -77.3, 
S: -78.08, 
E: 163.03, 
W: 161.04
Spatial Resolution:Not SpecifiedSensor(s):GPS
Temporal Coverage:
  • 10 October 2005 to 15 December 2005
  • 12 October 2004 to 15 December 2004
  • 18 October 2003 to 10 December 2003
Temporal ResolutionNot specifiedMetadata XML:View Metadata Record
Data Contributor(s):Karl Kreutz, Paul Mayewski

Geographic Coverage

Please contact the data provider for the correct Data Citation for this data set.

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Detailed Data Description


Data are available as ASCII text files (.txt) and Microsoft Excel files (.xls). Detailed metadata are available in Microsoft Word files (.doc).

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File and Directory Structure

Data are available on the FTP site in the directory. The directory is divided into seven main subdirectories, as described in Table 1. The subdirectories are divided into folders for each experimental location, which contain data files and metadata specific to those measurements.

Table 1. Description of Subdirectories for the Directory
Directory Name Directory Contents
AWS Automatic Weather Station (AWS) data for Clark and Commonwealth glaciers, 2004 and 2005
Borehole_temperature Borehole temperature data for the four ice core sites, as measured in 2005
GPS_velocity GPS velocity data for Clark and Commonwealth glaciers, 2004 and 2005
Metadata describing GPS velocity data, in Microsoft Word (.doc) format
Ice_Core_Data Ice core melting, density, and chemistry data for each of the four ice core sites
Mass_Balance_Pole_Data Mass balance pole data for each of the four ice core sites
Metadata file describing mass balance measurement method, in Microsoft Word (.doc) format
Site_Coordinates Detailed latitude, longitude, and elevation coordinates for each site
Snowpit_Data Snow pit data from the four ice core sites plus three additional sites
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File Naming Convention

Files are named according to the following convention:


  • where:
    Table 2. File Naming Convention
    Variable Description
    xx Site location:
    • cl: Clark Glacier
    • cm: Commonwealth Glacier
    • bl: Blue Glacier
    • vu: Upper Victoria Glacier
    • ms: Meserve Glacier
    • nw: Newall Glacier
    • rh: Rhone Glacier
    YYYY Four-digit year
    measurementname Measurement type
    .zzz File extension

    The Site_Coordinates folder contains latitude, longitude, and elevation coordinates for each site.
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File Size

The file sizes range from 1 KB to 1759 KB.

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The total volume of the data set is 21.5 MB.

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Spatial Coverage

Ice core data were collected at four sites in the Dry Valleys region of Antarctica: Blue Glacier, Clark Glacier, Commonwealth Glacier, and Upper Victoria Glacier. Snow pit data were collected at three additional sites: Meserve Glacier, Newall Glacier, and Rhone Glacier. Detailed location information for each site is available in the Site_Coordinatesfolder.

Southernmost Latitude: 78.08º S 
Northernmost Latitude: 77.3° S
Westernmost Longitude: 161.04° W
Easternmost Longitude: 163.03° W

Spatial Coverage Map

map location of dry valleys

Location of Dry Valleys Region, Antarctica
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Temporal Coverage

Data in this collection were obtained during three Antarctic field seasons from 2003 to 2005.

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Parameter or Variable

The data set contains high-resolution ice core data, including chemistry, bore hole temperatures, mass balance, AWS weather data, and snow pit data. Detailed location information for each site is available in the Site_Coordinates folder. Metadata pertaining to specific measurements are available in the respective folders or data spreadsheets. For example, the Clark_GPS_metadata.doc file provides metadata for the GPS velocity measurements of Clark Glacier. Parameters in the main data file types are described below and in Tables 3 through 7.

1. AWS Data

AWS data are available for two sites, Clark Glacier and Commonwealth Glacier. Table 3 lists the parameters for files in the AWS directory:

Table 3. Parameters in the AWS Files
Parameter Description
Daily Meteorological Data
Year Four-digit year
Month Two-digit month
Day Day of month
AvgIce1T Average ice temperature
AvgIce2T Average ice temperature
AvgIce3T Average ice temperature
AvgAirT Average air temperature
AvgAirRH Average air relative humidity
AirTMax Maximum air temperature
MaxTime Time maximum
AirMinT Minimum air temperature
MinTime Time minimum
Wndspd (S[ms-1]) Wind speed in meters per second
Wndspd (U) Horizontal wind speed
AvgWnddir Average wind direction
Sdwnddir Wind direction standard deviation
Snow Depth
Distance (m) Snow depth in meters to snow surface, measured twice daily
Pressure (mbar) Pressure in millibars, measured every three hours
Latitude, Longitude AWS station location
Deployed, Collected Dates of station measurement begin and end (DD-MMM-YY)
Sensors Sensor descriptions

2. Borehole Temperature Data

The directory Borehole_Temperatures contains one data file, DV_Borehole_Temperatures.xls. These data were collected in the Dry Valleys, Antarctica during the 2005 to 2006 Antarctic field season, using a RBR TR-1050 temperature logger. The file includes borehole data for ice core sites at Clark, Commonwealth and Upper Victoria glaciers.

3. GPS Velocity Data

GPS velocity data were processed in the Trimble Geomatics Office in both WGS84 coordinates (latitude and longitude) and height above ellipsoid (HAE). Additional information relating to GPS data is available in the Clark_GPS_metadata.doc and Commonwealth_2005_metadata.doc files. Table 4 lists the parameters in the GPS_Velocity directory:

Table 4. Parameters in GPS_Velocity Files
Parameter Description
Time Date and time of measurement, in format:
mm/dd/yy hh:ss
Point name Arbitrary name given to each survey point
Latitude, Longitude Latitude and longitude (degrees) of point location
Northing, Easting Universal Transverse Mercator zone 58
Semi-major axis (m) Longest radius of the ellipse
Semi-minor axia (m) Shortest radius of the ellipse
Orientation Degrees from north of the semi-major axis
HAE (m) Height above ellipsoid, referring here to the World Geodetic System 1984 (WGS84) ellipsoid, which approximates the Earth's surface
Sigma HAE (m) Formal error, in meters, excluding setup errors
Elevation (m) Elevation above the geoid, which approximates mean sea level. This elevation is based on a global geoid model and is subject to both the error of the HAE measurement and the error in the geoid model, which is often on the order of meters

4. Ice Core Data

Table 5 describes the data files in the Ice_Core_Data directory:

Table 5. Description of Files in Ice_Core_Data Directory
File Type Description
Core density Depth, weight, tare, and diameter measurements for approximately 1-meter thick ice core sections
Core run lengths Run number and run length for ice core measurements
Chemistry: isoions Sample ID, sample depth, and measurements of the following ions in ug/L:
  • Sodium (Na)
  • Potassium (K)
  • Magnesium (Mg)
  • Calcium (Ca)
  • Methylsulfonate (MS)
  • Chloride (Cl)
  • Nitrate (NO3)
  • Sulfate (SO4)
Chemistry: trace metals Sample number, sample depth, and measurements of the following trace metals:
  • Lanthanum: La139 (ng/L)
  • Cerium: Ce140 (ng/L)
  • Praseodymium: Pr141 (ng/L)
  • Neodymium: Nd146 (pg/L)
  • Samarium: Sm147 (pg/L)
  • Europium: Eu153 (pg/L)
  • Gadolinium: Gd157 (pg/L)
  • Terbium: Tb159 ( pg/L)
  • Dysprosium: Dy163 (pg/L)
  • Holmium: Ho165 (pg/L)
  • Erbium: Er166 (pg/L)
  • Thulium: Tm169 (pg/L)
  • Ytterbium: Yb172 (pg/)L
  • Lutetium: Lu175 (pg/L)

5. Mass Balance Pole Data

Mass balance data were collected by freezing one-inch aluminum conduit poles into the surface of the glacier accumulation zone. The sites were surveyed via static GPS, and a height measurement was taken from the snow surface to the pole top. Height to pole top was re-measured after one year, and the height difference taken to represent net accumulation in that time period. Error in height measurement is estimated to be ±0.5 cm for any given measurement. Table 6 provides parameter information for mass balance data files.

Table 6. Parameters in massbalance.xls Files
Parameter Description
Pole # Pole number
Height above surface (11/11/2003
Height of pole above firn surface, in meters or centimeters
Accumulation (ice) Annual accumulation of ice in centimeters
Accumulation (we) Annual accumulation measured in snow water equivalent
Comments Details of pole position with respect to sastrugi and other features

6. Site Coordinates

Site coordinate data files contain latitude, longitude, and HAE measurements for each snow pit, ice core site, and mass balance pole in the study. The file 2005regionalpitsLatLonElev.xls contains location information for the snow pits at Meserve, Newall, and Rhone glaciers. Additional files contained detailed site information for each measurement at Blue, Clark, Commonwealth, and Upper Victoria glaciers.

7. Snow Pit Data

Snow pit data files include density, sample logs, stratigraphy, temperature, and chemistry measurements for snow pits at seven sites: Blue, Clark, Commonwealth, Meserve, Newall, Rhone, and Upper Victoria glaciers. Table 7provides details on the files and parameter in the Snowpit_Data directory.

Table 7. Snow Pit Data Files and Parameters
Parameter Description
Snow Pit Densities
Snow pit density File containing depth, weight, and volume measurements and density calculations for samples with a 4cm resolution
Snow Pit Sample Logs
Snow pit sample logs File containing sample codes, depth, and collection date for snow samples
Pit Stratigraphy
Observation Firn type:
  • Dense hard packed:
  • Hoar:
  • Hoar/ice:
  • Ice lens:
Depth (cm) Snow pit depth at measurement, in centimeters
Collection date Date, in format DD-MM-YY
Snow Pit Temperatures
Depth (cm) Depth of measurement, in centimeters
Temp (°C) Temperature, degrees Celsius
Isoions File containing ion measurement and measurement depth for the following ions:
  • Na+ (ug/L)
  • K+ (ug/L)
  • Mg+ (ug/L)
  • Ca2+ (ug/L)
  • MS (ug/L)
  • Cl- (ug/L)
  • NO3- (ug/L)
  • SO42- (ug/L)
  • 180 (δ VSMOW)
  • 2H (δ VSMOW)
Trace Metals File containing sample id, sample depth, and sample concentration in micrograms per liter (ug/L) for the following trace metals:
  • Al 396.153
  • Ba
  • Ca 396.847
  • Cd
  • Co
  • Cr
  • Cs
  • Cu
  • Fe 238.204
  • Mg 279.553
  • Mn
  • Na 589.592
  • Pb
  • S 180.669
  • Sr
  • Sr 421.552
  • Ti
  • U
  • V
  • Zn
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Software and Tools

Data are accessible using standard spreadsheet software.

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Data Acquisition and Processing

Theory of Measurements

Intermediate-length ice cores (100-200m) were collected at four sites along transects in Taylor Valley and Wright Valley, and analyzed at high resolution for stable isotopes (d18O, dD), major ions (Na+, Mg2+, Ca2+, K+, NH4+, Cl-, NO3-, SO42-, MSA), and trace elements (Al, Fe, S, Sr, B). Additional measurements include mass balance, borehole temperature, and snow pit data for each site, and Global Positioning System (GPS) velocity data for the Clark and Commonwealth glacier sites. Snow pit data from three additional sites in the same region are also available.

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Data Acquisition Methods

Detailed data acquisition methods are available in the metadata files within the seven data folders, and in the references and related publications listed below.

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References and Related Publications

Contacts and Acknowledgments

Dr. Karl Kreutz 
Climate Change Institute
236 Sawyer Environmental Research Center
University of Maine 
Orono, Maine 04469 USA

Dr. Paul Mayewski 
Climate Change Institute 
133 Sawyer Environmental Research Center
University of Maine 
Orono, Maine 04469 USA


This research was supported by NSF OPP grant 0228052 .

Document Information


23 April 2009

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