Advanced Search


IPICS-IPY: International Partnerships in Ice Core Science

imageIce cores tell us how climate and atmospheric composition have varied in the past. IPICS will develop international plans for new projects on timescales from 2000 to over a million years. A focus in IPY will be on starting a core to bedrock in Greenland that aims to show us how the climate and ice sheet responded during the last warm interglacial period on Earth.

We are organizing a large international group of scientists with expertise in obtaining and analyzing ice cores-borings through the polar ice sheets that can tell us about climates and environments of the past, perhaps back to 1 to 1.5 million years ago.  IPICS will involve collecting many of these ice cores from Antarctica and Greenland.  Part of the project involves collecting samples from all over the polar ice caps - creating many records covering the last 2,000 years, and a smaller number covering perhaps the last 40,000 years.  The interest here is in deciphering how climate change in the past manifests itself regionally.  To other, ambitious, elements of IPICS aim to obtain the oldest ice records possible in both Greenland and Antarctica.  In Greenland this means obtaining ice from the before the last ice age, approximately 130-150,000 years ago.  There is a great deal of interest in understanding that time period, which was slightly warmer than today and may be an analogue for our near future.  In Antarctica, the oldest ice we can drill be as old as 1.5 million years, which would allow us to study in great detail how climate, greenhouse gases, and other environmental factors evolved since that time.

View Full Proposal