Toward understanding the dust deposition in Antarctica during the Last Glacial Maximum: Sensitivity studies on plausible causes

Fuyu Li, V. Ramaswamy, Paul Ginoux, Anthony J. Broccoli, Thomas Delworth, Fanrong Zeng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Understanding the plausible causes for the observed high dust concentrations in Antarctic ice cores during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) is crucial for interpreting the Antarctic dust records in the past climates and could provide insights into dust variability in future climates. Using the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) General Circulation Models, we conduct an investigation into the various factors modulating dust emission, transport, and deposition, with a view toward an improved quantification of the LGM dust enhancements in the Antarctic ice cores. The model simulations show that the expansion of source areas and changes in the Antarctic ice accumulation rates together can account for most of the observed increase of dust concentrations in the Vostok, Dome C, and Taylor Dome cores, but there is an overestimate of the LGM/present ratio in the case of the Byrd core. The source expansion due to the lowering of sea level yields a factor of 2-3 higher contribution than that due to the reduction of continental vegetation. The changes in other climate parameters (e.g., SH precipitation change) are estimated to be relatively less important within the context of this sensitivity study, while the model-simulated LGM surface winds yield a 20%-30% reduction rather than an increase in dust deposition in Antarctica. This research yields insights toward a fundamental understanding of the causes for the significant enhancement of the dust deposition in the Antarctic ice cores during the LGM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberD24120
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres
Issue number24
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology


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