Accumulation in Svalbard glaciers deduced from ice cores with nuclear tests and Chernobyl reference layers

  • Jean Francis Pinglot
  • Michel Pourchet
  • Bernard Lefauconnier
  • Jon Ove Hagen
  • Elisabeth Isaksson
  • Reinäe Vaikm
  • Kokichi Kamiyama

Abstract

Mean net annual balance and the related spatio-temporal variations have been determined on the basis of well-dated artificial layers in shallow ice cores (Chernobyl, 1986, and atmospheric thermonuclear tests, mainly in 1961-62 in Novaya Zemlya). Seventy ice cores from 13 Svalbard glaciers have been analysed. On each glacier, in its accumulation area and at the highest elevation, one ice core was recovered down to about 40 m and sampled for radioactivity measurements to determine the 1986 and 1962-63 layer (1954 was the initial date of the nuclear tests). For each glacier, at least five complementary ice cores from the accumulation area were analysed to determine the Chernobyl reference layer. Six ice cores exhibit both the Chernobyl and nuclear tests layers and are of special interest in this study. This work provides new data on the deposition rates of natural and artificial radioisotopes. Using ice cores samples from the Arctic glaciers, even with superimposed ice accumulation, it is possible to distinguish between the Chernobyl and the nuclear tests fallouts. This work also shows that the mean annual net balance did not significantly change for at least five ice core locations in the Svalbard glaciers for the two periods extending from 1963 to 1986 to the recent date of drilling.

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Published
1999-01-12
How to Cite
Pinglot, J. F., Pourchet, M., Lefauconnier, B., Hagen, J. O., Isaksson, E., Vaikm, R., & Kamiyama, K. (1999). Accumulation in Svalbard glaciers deduced from ice cores with nuclear tests and Chernobyl reference layers. Polar Research, 18(2), 315-321. https://doi.org/10.3402/polar.v18i2.6590

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