Data Set ID: 

Major Ion Concentrations in WDC05Q and WDC06A Ice Cores (WAIS Divide), Version 1

This data set contains major ion concentrations from the chemical analysis of two WAIS Divide ice cores (WDC05Q, 0-114 m; WDC06A, 0-129 m). The analytical technique is Mettler-based Continuous Flow Analysis with online Ion Chromatography detection (CFA-IC). Depth resolution is approximately 2 cm per sample or per measurement.

NSIDC does not archive these data.

  • Ice Core Records > Ions > IONS
Data Format(s):
  • Excel
Spatial Coverage:
N: -79.5, 
S: -79.5, 
E: -112, 
W: -112
Spatial Resolution:Not SpecifiedSensor(s):ION CHROMATOGRAPHS
Temporal Coverage:
  • 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2010
Temporal ResolutionNot specifiedMetadata XML:View Metadata Record
Data Contributor(s):Jihong Cole-Dai

Geographic Coverage

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

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This data set contains major ion concentrations from the chemical analysis of two WAIS Divide ice cores (WDC05Q, 0-114 m; WDC06A, 0-129 m). The analytical technique is Mettler-based Continuous Flow Analysis with online Ion Chromatography detection (CFA-IC). Depth resolution is approximately 2 cm per sample or per measurement.

Detailed Data Description


This data set contains concentrations of ions (chloride, nitrate, sulfate, sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium) in ice cores drilled 01 January 2007 to 31 December 2010 at WAIS Divide, Antarctica.

The data files contain ion concentrations (micrograms per liter of meltwater) as a function of depth in core.

Data are provided in Excel .xlsx format.

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File and Directory Structure

Data are available on the FTP site in the directory.

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File Naming Convention

File names:

WDC05Q Chem Data.xlsx
WDC06A Chem Data.xls

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File Size

Each file is approximately 1 KB.

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Total data volume is approximately 2 KB.

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Spatial Coverage

WAIS Divide, Antarctica: 79.5° S, 112.0° W

Spatial Resolution

Approximately 2 cm depth resolution.

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Temporal Coverage

Data were collected from 01 January 2007 to 31 December 2010 
Temporal coverage start: 1500 CE
Temporal coverage end: 2006 CE

Temporal Resolution

Approximately monthly

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Parameter or Variable

Parameters included in the WDC05Q Chem Data.xlsx ice core file are described in Table 1. Parameter names vary slightly in the WDC06A Chem Data.xls data file, and are noted in parenthesis. Each file includes metadata for Core Name, Core drilled, Lab name, and contact.

Table 1. Chemical Composition of Ice and Snow
Parameter Description Units
Sample # (Sample Name) Sample number (Sample name) number (name)
Tube # (Tube Information) Ice core number number
Sample Size (Size) Core sample size Centimeters
Snow Depth Top (Depth Top) Depth from top along vertical length of ice core Meters
Depth Middle (WDC06A Chem Data.xlsx file only) Depth at the middle of the sample from the top of the ice core. Meters
Conc Cl Chlorine micrograms/litre (µg/l)
Conc NO3 Nitrate micrograms/litre (µg/l)
Conc SO4 Sulfate micrograms/litre (µg/l)
Conc Na Sodium micrograms/litre (µg/l)
Conc K Potassium micrograms/litre (µg/l)
Conc Mg Magnesium micrograms/litre (µg/l)
Conc Ca Calcium micrograms/litre (µg/l)


If a data field is empty, it means no numerical value was generated for that sample and that chemical species. Reasons for missing data include lost sample or instrument malfunction.

Previously, Sample Name was used as ID for individual samples analyzed for chemical content. We began using a new type of analytical instrument a few years ago that did not generate individual samples for analysis. Rather the ice core was melted and analyzed as a continuous stream of meltwater. So, there are no individual samples for this data set. The numbers in the Sample Name column (for example, IC2 Sample 23) are references to sequence of "events" in the analytical instrument and they don't mean anything about the samples or the concentrations of the chemical species. The Sample Name column is just a carryover from early data file format. It can be deleted. The Tube Information column contains information about how the length of the tube was divided into "samples." It provides supplementary information and can be deleted.

The data set should be read this way: Each row is a layer of snow/ice in the ice core, represented by the depth interval in the core; so each could be considered a sample from the ice core. Each layer or sample has concentrations of the chemical species measured in the lab.

Sample Data Record

The following is a sample from the WDC05Q Chem Data.xlsx data file

sample concentration data
Figure 1. Sample Data Record
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Data Acquisition and Processing

Data Acquisition Methods

Ice cores were collected with electromechanical drill. Ice core samples were analyzed in lab with ion chromatography detection (CFA-IC).

Processing Steps

The 0 to 129 m and 0 to 114 m cores were chemically analyzed with the technique of CFA-IC (Mettler-based continuous flow analysis with online ion chromatography detection) in the Ice Core and Environmental Chemistry Lab at South Dakota State University. The depth resolution of chemical analysis is approximately 2 cm per measurement. The cores were dated with approximately monthly layer counting and the age of the ice is estimated to be from 1500 C.E to 2006 C.E.

Concentrations of ions are expressed in micrograms per liter of meltwater or micrograms per kg of ice (parts per billion or ppb). Measurements were based on sample size (cm) along the vertical length of the ice core. The entire length of the ice core (a 3 by 3 cm cross section) was melted on an ice core melter. Sampling or measurement resolution in cm was determined by the number of ion chromatographic measurements made for a given length of core and the speed of melting.

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References and Related Publications

Contacts and Acknowledgments

Jihong Cole-Dai
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Box 2202 
South Dakota State University 
Brookings, SD 57007 


This research was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Polar Programs, Antarctic Research, Glaciology grant number 0538553.

Document Information

Document Creation Date

02 January 2014

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