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ArcticMelt2

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International project "Ice Memory"
« on: June 09, 2019, 01:10:26 PM »
In Antarctica, trying to create a safe repository of ice cores of all the glaciers of the world. (P.S. "They expect that Antarctica does not melt quickly"?)

https://www.wired.co.uk/article/ice-memories

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Putting 20,000 years of history on ice: French project is saving glaciers from climate change
Scientists are storing glacier samples to learn more about environmental history

As climate change erases our record of the long-term past, a team of scientists is putting 20,000 years of environmental history on ice. "The aim is to create a heritage for future generations of scientists," explains Jérôme Chappellaz, research director at France's National Centre for Scientific Research and co-initiator of the Ice Memory project. "Otherwise the glaciers, the raw material for the ideas of tomorrow, will disappear."

Ice trapped at the bottom of some glaciers dates back to 18,000 BCE - when glacial coverage was at its peak. As it froze it trapped bubbles of atmospheric gas and radioactive substances, along with dust and pollen. By drilling a cylindrical core through the ice, Chappellaz's team can extract a timeline of the changing environment around the glacier, and how human activity has affected it.

"We will measure water isotopes and concentrations of chemical species and trace gases," he explains. "In future we should develop the methods to access this signal, to study the genome and its evolution, in trapped bacteria and viruses."

New analytic techniques will be useless, however, without material to analyse. Although ice sheltered more than 100 metres down at the bottom of a glacier won't be disappearing soon, continuous melting at the surface can cause meltwater to percolate down and distort the geochemical signals preserved below.

So, starting with the collection of three 130-metre-long samples from Col du Dôme glacier in the Mont Blanc massif in August 2016, the Ice Memory project plans to create a library of hundreds of cores in an ice cave at Antarctica's Concordia Research Station, where mean annual temperatures hover around -54°C.

The first two missions and the ice cave's construction are already funded with $3 million (£2.4m) from research organisations and private donors. Institutions in nine other countries have expressed interest in contributing samples.

"In the long term, this is the safest way to keep samples frozen," explains Chappellaz. "Antarctica is the only territory having no property rights and being devoted to science. The ice cores will not belong to French or Italian glaciologists. They will be a legacy to the scientific community, whatever the nationality."
« Last Edit: June 09, 2019, 01:27:03 PM by ArcticMelt2 »

ArcticMelt2

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Re: International project "Ice memory"
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2019, 01:17:55 PM »
As is well known, an attempt to create a Doomsday repository on Svalbard failed.

https://www.inverse.com/article/54416-why-did-we-assume-the-permafrost-would-stay-permanently-frozen

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Roughly 800 miles from the North Pole is a concrete building meant to feed humanity in case global disaster strikes. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, tucked 390 feet into a mountain on snowy Spitsbergen Island, contains nearly a million seed samples that can be used to regrow crops in case a planetary emergency threatens our food supply. Unfortunately, its builders didn’t anticipate that an emergency would come so soon.

A CNN report on Wednesday, partially based on research published by the Norwegian Centre for Climate Services (NCCS) in February, revealed the islands that make up the Svalbard archipelago where the Seed Vault is located are experiencing rapid warming.

The temperature is already four to 7.3 degrees Celsius warmer in Svalbard than it was 50 years ago and, at the rate the climate is changing, is expected to become seven to 10 degrees warmer by 2100. All that warmth is melting the permafrost, which is essentially the bedrock on which all the structures in the region — the Seed Vault included — are built. Already, homes are becoming increasingly unstable and prone to collapse as their once-solid base softens and sinks.

“It is rare that I use words like this, but what is happening in Svalbard is extreme,” said Ellen Hambro, director of the Norwegian Environment Agency, in a statement about the report in February. “The temperature is rising faster here in the Arctic than anywhere else in the world, and climate change has already had major consequences for nature, animals and the community on the island group.”

The “doomsday” connotations around Svalbard may suggest that it will only become useful in the event of some far-off catastrophe, but it’s already had to be cracked open. When fallout from the Syrian war damaged the Aleppo seed bank in 2015, scientists had to open up Svalbard to retrieve the copies they left there for safekeeping.

Climate change threatens the ability of scientists to do that during future catastrophes. Leaking water from melting permafrost flooded the entryway to Svalbard in 2017, prompting a $13 million renovation to make the entryway waterproof. The seeds weren’t damaged that time — they’re housed behind another vault door deeper into the mountain — but the water damaged electrical equipment in the entryway, reported the local newspaper Icepeople.

Those renovations involved constructing a new waterproof concrete tunnel, moving electrical equipment to a different building, and digging channels to divert meltwater, CNN reports. In addition, “pipes containing a coolant were threaded through the soil, and a freezing mat laid on top of the tunnel to help the permafrost stay frozen.”

In other words, climate change is forcing us to artificially create the conditions that led us to build the Vault near the North Pole in the first place.



Melting permafrost has already flooded the entrance to Svalbard, prompting a $13 million renovation in 2018.

ArcticMelt2

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Re: International project "Ice memory"
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2019, 01:23:09 PM »
Now ice cores are stored in scientific laboratories, where they can be destroyed at any time due to breakage of cooling equipment.

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/04/unique-canadian-ice-core-collection-suffers-catastrophic-meltdown

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Unique Canadian ice core collection suffers catastrophic meltdown

A precious collection of ice cores from the Canadian Arctic has suffered a catastrophic meltdown. A freezer failure at a cold storage facility in Edmonton run by the University of Alberta (UA) caused 180 of the meter-long ice cylinders to melt, depriving scientists of some of the oldest records of climate change in Canada’s far north.

The 2 April failure left “pools of water all over the floor and steam in the room,” UA glaciologist Martin Sharp told ScienceInsider. “It was like a changing room in a swimming pool.”

The melted cores represented 12.8% of the collection, which held 1408 samples taken from across the Canadian Arctic. The cores hold air bubbles, dust grains, pollen, and other evidence that can provide crucial information about past climates and environments, and inform predictions about the future.

A precious collection of ice cores from the Canadian Arctic has suffered a catastrophic meltdown. A freezer failure at a cold storage facility in Edmonton run by the University of Alberta (UA) caused 180 of the meter-long ice cylinders to melt, depriving scientists of some of the oldest records of climate change in Canada’s far north.

The 2 April failure left “pools of water all over the floor and steam in the room,” UA glaciologist Martin Sharp told ScienceInsider. “It was like a changing room in a swimming pool.”

The melted cores represented 12.8% of the collection, which held 1408 samples taken from across the Canadian Arctic. The cores hold air bubbles, dust grains, pollen, and other evidence that can provide crucial information about past climates and environments, and inform predictions about the future.

The storage facility is normally chilled to –37°C. But the equipment failure allowed temperatures to rise to 40°C, melting tens of thousands of years of history. Among the losses: some of the oldest ice cores from Mount Logan, a 5595-meter-high mountain in northern Canada. “We only lost 15 meters [of core], but because it was from the bottom of the core, that’s 16,000 years out of the 17,700 years that was originally represented,” Sharp says.

Scientists also lost 66 meters of core from Baffin Island’s Penny Ice Cap, which accounts for 22,000 years—a quarter of the record. That leaves “a gap for the oldest part, which is really the last glaciation before the warming that brought us into the present interglacial,” Sharp says.

The collection—officially known as the Canadian Ice Core Archive — has a complicated history. Many of the cores were collected in the 2000s, flown to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, and then trucked nearly 5500 kilometers to the Ice Core Research Laboratory at the Geological Survey of Canada in Ottawa. After the federal government shifted its research priorities, the collection was orphaned and recently moved to the Edmonton lab.

Replacing the lost cores would be difficult, Sharp says. Each would cost between $500,000 and $1 million to replace, because of the difficult logistics associated with operating in the remote Arctic.

ArcticMelt2

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Re: International project "Ice Memory"
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2019, 02:46:08 PM »
https://fondation.univ-grenoble-alpes.fr/second-mission-illimani-bolivia/

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ICE MEMORY in Bolivia: mission accomplished

An international team made of fifteen glaciologists, helped by thirty mountain carriers and guides, has just completed a successful extraction of two ice cores from the Illimani Mountain in Bolivia at 6,300 meters of altitude, despite extreme climatic conditions. These ice cores are in the midst of being brought back to France, and subsequently to the Antarctic. This glacier, the subject of study for the past 20 years for the IRD team, preserves 18,000 years of the climate and environmental history of the Andes, but it is also showing alarming signs of warming.

Logistics that rise to the challenge
The team is formed by French, Bolivian, Russian, American and Brazilian glaciologists. For Illimani, the project was more difficult in terms of logistic : the equipment wasn't transported by helicopter to the top of the glacier. All two tonnes of equipment was therefore physically carried from the foot of Illimani at 4,500 m (14,800 ft) to the coring site at 6,300 m (20,700 ft). No easy task, it was entrusted to around twenty Bolivian high-mountain guides and porters.
Three weeks of work at 6,300 m (20,700 ft) was needed to set up the equipment and extract the two ice cores. This operation was both a human and a technological challenge, so the scientists took turns on the summit to achieve their objective. Once extracted, the tonnes of ice were entrusted, metre by metre, to the porters, who had carried them down the glacier before storing them in the refrigerated container installed in La Paz. The Bolivia Ice Memory samples will then make their way to France for temporary storage with their Alpine cousins before the final shipping to Antarctica.


ArcticMelt2

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Re: International project "Ice Memory"
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2019, 02:59:39 PM »
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130404142417.htm

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Discovery of 1,800-year-old 'Rosetta Stone' for tropical ice cores

Two annually dated ice cores drawn from the tropical Peruvian Andes reveal Earth's tropical climate history in unprecedented detail -- year by year, for nearly 1,800 years.

Researchers at The Ohio State University retrieved the cores from a Peruvian ice cap in 2003, and then noticed some startling similarities to other ice cores that they had retrieved from Tibet and the Himalayas. Patterns in the chemical composition of certain layers matched up, even though the cores were taken from opposite sides of the planet.

In the April 4, 2013 online edition of the journal Science Express, they describe the find, which they call the first annually resolved "Rosetta Stone" with which to compare other climate histories from Earth's tropical and subtropical regions over the last two millennia.

The cores provide a new tool for researchers to study Earth's past climate, and better understand the climate changes that are happening today.

"These ice cores provide the longest and highest-resolution tropical ice core record to date," said Lonnie Thompson, distinguished university professor of earth sciences at Ohio State and lead author of the study.

"In fact, having drilled ice cores throughout the tropics for more than 30 years, we now know that this is the highest-resolution tropical ice core record that is likely to be retrieved."

The new cores, drilled from Peru's Quelccaya Ice Cap, are special because most of their 1,800-year history exists as clearly defined layers of light and dark: light from the accumulated snow of the wet season, and dark from the accumulated dust of the dry season.

They are also special because of where they formed, atop the high Andean altiplano in southern Peru. Most of the moisture in the area comes from the east, in snowstorms fueled by moist air rising from the Amazon Basin. But the ice core-derived climate records from the Andes are also impacted from the west -- specifically by El Niño, a temporary change in climate, which is driven by sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific.

El Niño thus leaves its mark on the Quelccaya ice cap as a chemical signature (especially in oxygen isotopes) indicating sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean over much of the past 1,800 years.

"We have been able to derive a proxy for sea surface temperatures that reaches back long before humans were able to make such measurements, and long before humans began to affect Earth's climate," Thompson said.

Ellen Mosley-Thompson, distinguished university professor of geography at Ohio State and director of the Byrd Polar Research Center, explained that the 2003 expedition to Quelccaya was the culmination of 20 years of work.

The Thompsons have drilled ice cores from glaciers atop the most remote areas of the planet -- the Chinese Himalayas, the Tibetan Plateau, Kilimanjaro in Africa, and Papua Indonesia among others -- to gauge Earth's past climate. Each new core has provided a piece of the puzzle, as the researchers measured the concentrations of key chemicals preserved in thousands of years of accumulated ice.

A 1983 trip to Quelccaya yielded cores that earned the research team their first series of papers in Science. The remoteness of the site and the technology available at the time limited the quality of samples they could obtain, however. The nearest road was a two-day walk from the ice cap, so they were forced to melt the cores in the field and carry samples back as bottles of water. This made some chemical measurements impossible, and diminished the time resolution available from the cores.

"Due to the remoteness of the ice cap, we had to develop new tools such as a light-weight drill powered by solar panels to collect the 1983 cores. However, we knew there was much more information the cores could provide" Mosley-Thompson said. "Now the ice cap is just a six-hour walk from a new access road where a freezer truck can be positioned to preserve the cores. So we can now make better dust measurements along with a suite of chemical analyses that we couldn't make before."

The cores will provide a permanent record for future use by climate scientists, Thompson added. This is very important, as plants captured by the advancing ice cap 6,000 years ago are now emerging along its retreating margins, which shows that Quelccaya is now smaller than it has been in six thousand years.

"The frozen history from this tropical ice cap -- which is melting away as Earth continues to warm -- is archived in freezers at -30ºC so that creative people will have access to it 20 years from now, using instruments and techniques that don't even exist today," he said.

Coauthors on the study include Mary Davis, Victor Zagorodnov, and Ping-Nan Lin of Byrd Polar Research Center; Ian Howat of the School of Earth Sciences at Ohio State; and Vladimir Mikhalenko of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Funding was provided by the National Science Foundation's Paleoclimatology Program and Ohio State's Climate, Water and Carbon Program.

ArcticMelt2

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Re: International project "Ice Memory"
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2019, 03:14:33 PM »
The cores will provide a permanent record for future use by climate scientists, Thompson added. This is very important, as plants captured by the advancing ice cap 6,000 years ago are now emerging along its retreating margins, which shows that Quelccaya is now smaller than it has been in six thousand years.

About the same in another news.

https://web.archive.org/web/20061004090644/http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/MediaAlerts/2003/2003110616154.html

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November 06, 2003

Ice-Cores May Yield Clues to 5,000-Year-Old Mystery

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The latest expeditions to ice caps in the high, tropical Peruvian Andes Mountains by Ohio State University scientists may shed light on a mysterious global climate change they believe occurred more than 5,000 years ago.

They hope that ice cores retrieved from two tropical ice caps there, as well as ancient plants retrieved from beneath the retreating glaciers, may contain clues that could link ancient events that changed daily life in South America, Europe and Asia.

Something happened 5,200 years ago that was abrupt and very large-scale, explained Lonnie Thompson, professor of geological sciences at Ohio State and researcher with the Byrd Polar Research Center.

As snow falls on these ice caps and is packed tightly over time, it forms stratigraphic layers indicating annual accumulations. Researchers can estimate the age of a core by counting these layers just as biologists date forests by counting tree rings.

In September, Thompson and his team returned from drilling ice cores from glaciers atop two peaks in Peru. They drilled three cores from Nevado Coropuna, a 6,425-meter (21,074-foot) extinct volcano in the Cordillera Occidental of the Andes in Southern Peru. Two of the cores were drilled at the crater rim and measured just over 34 meters (111.5 feet).

Based on our counting layers in the core at the drill site, we believe the shorter cores might date back at least 300 years, Thompson said.

The third core from coropuna was drilled directly over the crater at the mountains summit and measured 146.3 meters (479 feet). This core will likely provide the first annually resolved climate history for this region over at least the last 2,000 years.

If it happened in the past, it might happen again, and that type of abrupt event in todays world would mean worldwide chaos, both economically and socially. Today, 70 percent of the worlds 6.3 billion people live in the tropics.

There is a possibility that this core could contain glacial stage ice, he suspects, which could date it back more than 10,000 years. These cores should provide a critical piece of the puzzle needed to understand climate variability in this region, Thompson said.

Coropuna is located on the first rise of the Andes, right above the Pacific Ocean, so the ice cores should record changes in the El Niño-La Nina cycle, a key component of climate variability.

Approximately 270 miles (434 kilometers) north and east of Coropuna lies the Quelccaya ice cap, a site that Thompson and his team have visited at least 18 times in the last few decades.

During this expedition, they drilled two cores from a new site on the north dome of the ice cap. They hope that the cores, measuring 128.6 meters (422 feet), will unveil an annual record of climate in this region dating back at least 1,000 years. At the ice cap summit, the team also retrieved a 168.7-meter (553-foot) core to bedrock that is expected to yield an annual record covering more than 2,000 years that will give them a high-resolution record of climatic and environmental conditions.

The deep core at the Coropuna crater site yielded other surprises. They found the body of a small insect, perfectly preserved and frozen in the ice 64 meters (210 feet) below the surface and three individual plant fragments retrieved from the 117-meter (384-foot) level in the core.

These finds are important since they will allow us to independently date the core at these levels using a different process, Thompson said. Both the insect and the plant material were probably carried from the Altiplano below to the summit site by thunderstorm winds.

In 2002, Thompsons team made a surprising find along the margin of the Quelccaya ice cap a remarkably preserved wetland plant that had been remarkably preserved under the ice. Later testing yielded viable DNA from the plant and dated it back 5,200 years ago.

Researchers found a plant deposit this year, revealed when the margin of the Quelccaya Ice Cap retreated. It was the second such find in the last two years.

This is a soft-bodied plant, he said. It had to be captured by a very large snowfall at the time, a snowfall and climate change that began very abruptly fast enough to capture a plant but not kill it. That is astounding.

We know the first plant could not have been exposed at any time during in that 5,200-year history or it would have decayed, he said. This year, the researchers found a second plant near the southern tip of the ice field, some 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) south of their original plant find. Thompson believes that this second plant may provide important historical information about this site.

Subsequent carbon dating of the second plant showed that it had been buried for the last 2,200 years, a time when other records showed another abrupt climate change.

The size of the ice caps in this region is a vital key in understanding questions about global climate change. Since he first started monitoring Quelccaya, Thompson said the ice cap has been retreating exponentially.

When we started surveying in 1963, Quelccaya was retreating at a rate of 4.7 meters (15.4 feet) each year, he said. In more recent years, the rate of retreat has increased to as much as 205 meters (672 feet) annually more than 40 times as fast!

Thompson calls Quelccaya, the largest of all the tropical ice caps, the poster child for tropical glaciers. At least 70 percent of all tropical ice on the planet is trapped in Peruvian ice fields and glaciers. The annual melt from these ice packs provides drinking water and irrigation for millions of people, as well as refilling reservoirs that feed hydroelectric dams.

Thompson and his research team are in a race against time to retrieve cores from these ice caps in order to preserve the thousands of years of climatic history trapped inside. And at the top of their agenda is solving the puzzle of what occurred 5,200 years ago.

We know the climate was different then. Before that, the proportion of warm water flowing off the coast of Peru was much greater, he said, a key factor in fueling the El Niño/La Nina climate events affecting this part of the globe.

We know that the Ice Man, a preserved Neolithic hunter exposed by a retreating glacier in the European Alps, was trapped by the ice around 5,200 years ago, he said, and that had to occur very abruptly.

Earlier work by the Ohio State team on ice cores taken from TanzaniasMount Kilimanjaro ice fields showed that a catastrophic drought had devastated the tropics around 5,200 years ago, a period of time when anthropologists believe THAT many people abandoned a nomadic lifestyle to form cities and social structures.

Those changes came abruptly and we know very little about abrupt climate change in the tropics.

If it happened in the past, it might happen again, he warned, and that type of abrupt event in todays world would mean worldwide chaos, both economically and socially. Today, 70 percent of the worlds 6.3 billion people live in the tropics.

This research is supported in part by the National Science Foundation, the Comer Foundation and Ohio State University.

ArcticMelt2

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Re: International project "Ice Memory"
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2019, 03:48:50 PM »
By the way, a similar review on all the glaciers that the Thomson group drilled.

https://www.amphilsoc.org/sites/default/files/2017-12/attachments/Thompson.pdf

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The ice core paleoclimate research program at the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center (BPCRC), formerly the Institute of Polar Studies, of The Ohio State University (OSU) began in 1974 as an outgrowth of the U.S. polar ice core drilling initiative. The first tropical ice cap drilled to bedrock was Quelccaya in the Andes of southern Peru. This ice core yielded a 1,500-year record of regional climatic and environmental variations and provided the first evidence of the occurrence of the Little Ice Age in the Southern Hemisphere Tropics. The innovative lightweight, solar-powered drilling system developed specifically to drill Quelccaya was instrumental in showing the way for continued drill development, which led to subsequent drilling projects on high-altitude glaciers in the central Andes, the Tibetan Plateau, the Alps, southeastern Alaska, tropical East Africa, and the mountains of Papua, Indonesia. Most of the resulting ice core records extend back many millennia, and several extend back into or through the last glacial cycle. The oldest of these records (>100 ky) is from the Guliya ice cap on the far western Tibetan Plateau, which was drilled in 1992 and again in 2015 with the anticipation of extending its time scale further.

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We have used the lightweight systems to drill to bedrock on high-altitude tropical glaciers
and ice caps in the Andes, Tibet, Indonesia, and East Africa, but have also drilled cores ranging from 100 meters to over 460 meters in Greenland, Antarctica, southeast Alaska, and the Russian Arctic (Figure 2).

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In 1992, a n American Chinese expedition successfully recovery three ice cores (308.6,93.2 and 34.5 m) from the Guliya ice cap (summit 6710 m) in the western Kunlun on the Qjnghai-Tibetan Plateau (China). The 308.6 m core to bedrock is the longest ice core repleted from an elelevation greater than 4000 meters.

https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2019GL082464

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The oldest ice that has ever been found outside of the polar regions is from the bottom of the Guliya ice cap in the western Kunlun mountains on the Tibetan Plateau. Previous dating results from the Guliya ice core, drilled in 1992, indicate that the bottom ice is more than 500 thousand years old. However, due to the lack of alternative dating methods in that time range, the age scale of the Guliya ice core has so far not been checked independently.

In this work we present dating results for the Guliya ice cap with a new dating method for ice based on the radioactive decay of the extremely rare krypton isotope 81Kr. Eight ice samples were retrieved at three different margin sites of the Guliya ice cap, where the old bottom ice is expected to resurface. The 81Kr measurements for these samples yield upper age limits in the range of 15‐74 ka, which is significantly lower than the previous dating results for the ice core.

ArcticMelt2

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Re: International project "Ice Memory"
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2019, 05:50:10 PM »
Interestingly, the accumulations of the most ancient ice in Antarctica are also under the threat of rapid melting (near the tectonic faults of the Transantratic Mountains).


https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/08/record-shattering-27-million-year-old-ice-core-reveals-start-ice-ages

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Record-shattering 2.7-million-year-old ice core reveals start of the ice ages
By Paul VoosenAug. 15, 2017 , 12:15 PM

Scientists announced today that a core drilled in Antarctica has yielded 2.7-million-year-old ice, an astonishing find 1.7 million years older than the previous record-holder. Bubbles in the ice contain greenhouse gases from Earth’s atmosphere at a time when the planet’s cycles of glacial advance and retreat were just beginning, potentially offering clues to what triggered the ice ages. That information alone makes the value of the sample “incredible,” says David Shuster, a geochemist at the University of California, Berkeley, who is unaffiliated with the research. “This is the only sample of ancient Earth’s atmosphere that we have access to.”

Described at the Goldschmidt Conference in Paris by Yuzhen Yan, a graduate student at Princeton University, the ice revealed atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels that did not exceed 300 parts per million, well below today’s levels. Some models of ancient climate predict that such relatively low levels would be needed to tip Earth into a series of ice ages. But some proxies gleaned from the fossils of animals that lived in shallow oceans had indicated higher CO2 levels. If the new result holds up, says Yige Zhang, a paleoclimatologist at Texas A&M University in College Station, the proxies will need to be recalibrated. “We have some work to do.”

The discovery also points the way to finding even older ice, because it comes from a largely ignored “blue ice” area, where peculiar dynamics can preserve old layers. Although blue ice areas offer only a fragmentary view of the past, they may turn into prime hunting grounds for ancient ice, says Ed Brook, a geochemist on the discovery team at Oregon State University in Corvallis. “Ice that’s this old really makes people stand up and notice,” he says. “We’re just scratching the surface.”

Ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica are mainstays of modern climate science. Traditionally, scientists drill in places where ice layers accumulate year after year, undisturbed by glacial flows. The long layer cake records from deep sites in the center of Antarctica reveal how greenhouse gases have surged and ebbed across hundreds of thousands of years. But because heat from the bedrock below can melt the deepest, oldest ice, the approach has not yielded ice any older than 800,000 years, from a core drilled at Antarctica’s Dome C in 2004.

The Princeton-led team went after ancient ice sitting far closer to the surface, in the Allan Hills, a wind-swept region of East Antarctica 200 kilometers from McMurdo Station that is famous for preserving ancient meteorites. In such blue ice areas—just 1% of the continent’s surface—the ice flows across rocky ridges, tipping the record on its side. Deep, old layers are driven up, while wind strips away snow and younger ice, revealing the lustrous blue of compressed ice below. But these contortions also confound the neat ordering of the annual layers—making it impossible to date the ice by counting them.

Michael Bender, a Princeton geochemist on the discovery team, solved the problem by finding a way to date chunks of ice directly from trace amounts of argon and potassium gases they contain. Although not as precise as other dating methods, Bender says, the technique can date ice to within 100,000 years or so.

In 2010, the team drilled their first hole at the Allan Hills, in a place where the ice was shallow and thought to be ascending a hill, with a chance of being stuck against bedrock. They drilled horizontally, toward the hill, in the hopes that the ice would get older as they drilled farther. They ran out of time after 128 meters, before they reached bedrock, but the unfinished core yielded some chunks of ice that were 1 million years old. It was the first sample older than 800,000 years, from a crucial time when glacial periods were switching from occurring every 40,000 years or so to every 100,000 years.

In 2015, the team returned to try again. The environment was harsh, with constant wind shearing their clutch of tents. “Cold is one thing,” says Princeton geochemist John Higgins, “but windy cold is just another beast.” Yet they were able to drill the remaining 20 meters to bedrock, and found the ice that, along with several other new cores, yielded the ancient samples.

It is unlikely that any traditional efforts will match the Allan Hills sample in age, says John Goodge, a geologist at the University of Minnesota in Duluth. Several teams are pursuing sites that may go back as far as 1.5 million years—but even that’s hopeful, says Goodge, a leader of a U.S. team planning to rapidly drill a deep ice site in the Antarctic interior. “In that sense, the Allan Hills ice core may stand on its own for some time,” he says.

Now, the Princeton team wants to go back to the blue ice and drill some more, Brook says—not only to fill in the climate cycles of the last 2.7 million years with a multitude of snapshots, but also to go even deeper in time, before the ice ages, when CO2 levels were higher. There’s evidence that Antarctica has hosted at least some ice for 30 million years. It’s plausible, Brook says, that the next attempt could come back with ice 5 million years old—a time when temperatures are thought to resemble what Earth is heading toward with human-driven warming.




mitch

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Re: International project "Ice Memory"
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2019, 06:09:12 PM »
ArcticMelt, you missed a digit on the Antarctic ice.  The ice age they report is 2.7 million years not 27 million years. Still an important achievement in terms of getting Pliocene CO2 data.

ArcticMelt2

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Re: International project "Ice Memory"
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2019, 06:14:36 PM »
ArcticMelt, you missed a digit on the Antarctic ice.  The ice age they report is 2.7 million years not 27 million years. Still an important achievement in terms of getting Pliocene CO2 data.

Thank you for your comment. But this is not my link (I can not fix it.).

In another link write about Greenland that the ice from the past interglacial period may have been preserved there (but in order to prove this, new drilling is necessary).

http://www.deepstuff.org/nasa-data-peers-greenlands-ice-sheet/



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This print resolution image shows one cross-section of the age of the Greenland Ice Sheet as determined by MacGregor et al. (See citation under the “More Details…” button below) Layers determined to be from the Holocene period, formed during the past 11.7 thousand years, are shown in Green. Age layers accumulated during the last ice age, from 11.7 to 115 thousand years ago are shown in blue. Age layers from the Eemian period, more than 115 thousand years old are shown in red. Regions of unknown age are filled with a flat gray colour.


In general, so far it turns out an amazing thing. Ice in Tibet can be as ancient as in Greenland.

ArcticMelt2

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Re: International project "Ice Memory"
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2019, 07:38:26 PM »
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Several teams are pursuing sites that may go back as far as 1.5 million years

By the way about this detailed article.

https://www.livescience.com/65188-antarctica-drilling-oldest-ice.html

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April 9, 2019 12:58pm ET

The Oldest Ice on Earth May Be Hiding 1.5 Miles Beneath Antarctica

European scientists looking for some of the oldest ice on the planet have homed in on a particular spot in Antarctica, where they will drill more than 1.5 miles (2.7 kilometers) below the surface of the ice.

Over the next five years, the "Beyond EPICA-Oldest Ice" mission will work at a remote location known as "Little Dome C" to start drilling for ice up to 1.5 million years old, the team announced today (April 9) at the meeting of the European Geosciences Union in Vienna, Austria.

"Ice cores are unique for geosciences because they are an archive of the paleo-atmosphere," said Beyond EPICA's coordinator Olaf Eisen of the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany.

From analyzing gas bubbles, molecules and particles trapped in thin layers of ancient ice, scientists can reconstruct carbon dioxide levels, temperature data and other climate indicators over a long period of time. A major goal of this project will be to understand why the cycle of Earth's ice ages changed in the distant past.

The expedition will build on a past mission, EPICA (the European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica), which took place from 1996 to 2004 at the Concordia research station, jointly operated by France and Italy. The EPICA researchers were able to obtain an ice core with an 800,000-year record of climate data. During this period, the climate flipped from glacial to interglacial periods on a 100,000-year cycle.

The EPICA core, however, "doesn't cover the time between 900,000 and 1.2 million years ago, where we had a transition in the climate system," Eisen told reporters during a press conference.

Prior to 1.2 million years ago, Earth's ice ages are believed to have been alternating on a quicker, 40,000-year cycle. Scientists don't know what happened during the following transition period in the climate system that caused the glacial periods to get longer and colder. The Beyond EPICA researchers hope to find some answers in the ice from Little Dome C as well as data that will help them build climate forecasts for the future.

Over the last three years, the researchers surveyed the region around Concordia as well as the region around Dome Fuji for a potential drill site that would be likely to have 1.5-million-year-old ice.

About 2 miles (3.2 km) above sea level, Little Dome C is about 18 miles (30 km) from Concordia station — or a 2-hour snowmobile ride. The average temperature at the drill site is minus 66 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 54.5 degrees Celsius), and the team will work only the two months during the Antarctic summer, camped out in shipping containers.

The area around Little Dome C is also very dry and hardly sees precipitation, which is good for the goal of the project.

"The smaller the accumulation rate of snow every year, the more years you have in each meter," said project scientist Catherine Ritz, of France's Institute for Geosciences and Environmental Research (IGE).

Having more layers packed in tightly is important because, closer to the bedrock, ice can melt due to the heat from beneath the surface of Earth. Melting at the bottom is the reason the previous EPICA ice core only had layers back to 800,000 years.

"The most exciting information we will be looking at will be squeezed in the deepest part of the core," Carlo Barbante, of the University of Venice, told reporters. "Most probably, the ice as old as 800,000 years to 1.5 million years will be squeezed in the last 200 to 300 meters of ice."

It will likely take the Beyond EPICA team years to reach those ancient layers of ice as they remove 13-foot-long (4 meter), 4 -inch-wide (10 centimeters) tubes of ice at a time. That also means the most important results of the project won't come out until at least 2025.

The European Union-funded project is estimated to cost about €30 million euros ($33.8 million), according to the BBC.

« Last Edit: June 09, 2019, 07:43:53 PM by ArcticMelt2 »

ArcticMelt2

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Re: International project "Ice Memory"
« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2019, 07:54:06 PM »
By the way, they write that this ice is so important that the Australians are going to drill a third well in parallel (also in the vicinity of Concordia).

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-07588-3

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Meanwhile, Australian researchers are looking for an appropriate site at which to drill for a separate deep ice core nearby. A team hopes to establish camp on little Dome C in January 2021. With logistical support from Concordia Station, drilling could start later that year, or in 2022.

“We don’t see it as a race or competition,” says Tas van Ommen, a glaciologist with the Australian Antarctic Division in Hobart, who leads the Aus$50-million (US$36-million) project. “There’s plenty of room for friendly cooperation.”

A second core would be extremely desirable for replication purposes, says Barbante. “Two is better than one,” he says. “You can never be confident in a single record. And, whoknows, just a few kilometres apart might tell a completely different story.”

It is expected that the most ancient ice is located in separate clusters in this place. Imagine what a disappointment it would be if the radar data were exaggerated.

https://www.the-cryosphere.net/11/2427/2017/tc-11-2427-2017.pdf

ArcticMelt2

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Re: International project "Ice Memory"
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2019, 04:03:14 PM »
The age of ice on the West Antarctic shield may does not exceed 70 thousand years (is it quite mobile and young?).

http://www.waisdivide.unh.edu/

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On December 1, 2011, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide ice core project, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), reached its final depth of 3405 meters (11,171 feet; over 2 miles), recovering the longest U.S. ice core to date from the polar regions.

The 122-millimeter (4.8-inch) diameter cylinders of ice that make up the ice core contain uniquely detailed information on past environmental conditions during the last 68,000 years, such as the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases, surface air temperature, wind patterns, the extent of sea ice around Antarctica, and the average temperature of the ocean.

The WAIS Divide ice core was recovered at a field camp in the center of West Antarctica, 1,040 kilometers (650 miles) from the geographic South Pole, where the ice is more than 3,460 meters (two miles) thick.

The drilling of the ice core ceased 50 meters (164 feet) above the contact between the ice and the underlying rock, to avoid contaminating a possible water layer at the ice-rock contact. The basal water system may consist of water-saturated, ground-up rock, and has not been exposed to the earth's surface for millions of years. It may harbor a unique and pristine biological environment that the U.S. scientific community does not wish to contaminate.


ArcticMelt2

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Re: International project "Ice Memory"
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2019, 04:06:28 PM »
The WAIS Divide ice core was recovered at a field camp in the center of West Antarctica, 1,040 kilometers (650 miles) from the geographic South Pole, where the ice is more than 3,460 meters (two miles) thick.

Drilling is not yet completed at the South Pole.

https://spicecore.org//

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On January 23, 2016, the South Pole Ice Core (SPICEcore) project reached its final depth of 1751 meters (5745 feet; 1.1 miles).

The stable isotope, aerosol, and atmospheric gas records in ice cores provide exceptional archives of past climate. Supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs, a new ~50,000-year long ice core was recovered from South Pole during the 2014-2015 field season (0 to 736 meters) and 2015-2016 field season (736 to 1751 meters) using the new U.S. Intermediate Depth Drill.

sidd

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Re: International project "Ice Memory"
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2019, 11:26:25 PM »
A lot of WAIS was gone in the Eemian. So it may be that it will be quite difficult to find older ice there.

sidd

ArcticMelt2

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Re: International project "Ice Memory"
« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2019, 09:05:56 PM »
incomplete list of all ice cores (no information on recent cores taken on Kilimanjaro and in New Guinea)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ice_cores

ArcticMelt2

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Re: International project "Ice Memory"
« Reply #16 on: June 15, 2019, 09:56:34 PM »
The list of the oldest ice cores in Antarctica:

1. Kohnen Station (about 900 thousand years)
https://www.nature.com/news/2006/060123/full/060123-3.html

2. Сoncordia Station (about 740 thousand years)

3. Dome Fuji (about 720 thousand years)

4. Vostok Station (about 420 thousand years)

There is also a list of coastal cores.
http://www.pages-igbp.org/download/docs/newsletter/2006-1/NL2006_1high_res.pdf

ArcticMelt2

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Re: International project "Ice Memory"
« Reply #17 on: July 01, 2019, 05:10:22 PM »
A new height record has been set for capturing ice cores.

https://techcrunch.com/2019/06/13/expedition-installs-highest-weather-stations-on-earth-atop-mount-everest/



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A recent research expedition to Mount Everest that wrapped up this week recorded a number of global records and world-firsts, including installing weather stations at the highest elevation ever on Earth, collecting ice core samples from the highest point ever and performing a helicopter-based lidar scan from the most extreme height ever accomplished.

The series of experiments were part of a multipurpose scientific expedition that included researchers from the National Geographic Society and Tribhuvan University in Nepal. The team for the research trip was made up of scientists and researchers.

During the expedition, the team installed fully automated weather-monitoring stations at 8,430 meters (27,657 feet) and 7,945 meters (26,066 feet), both of which are the highest currently in service today. In total, the researchers set up five weather stations across Everest. One ice core sample collected during the trip was taken at a height of 8,020 meters (26,312 feet), again breaking records, and the lidar imagery piece of the puzzle included the most detailed scans ever taken of both the Everest Base Camp and the Khumbu Glacier, as well as a helicopter-based lidar scan at the highest elevation on record, also of the glacier, which will help in monitoring its state over time.

Geologists in the expedition collected glacial lake sediment to better understand how it has changed over time, and biologists in the crew installed biodiversity-monitoring stations at one of the highest altitudes on Earth for a device its size, and also logged what are likely going to be certified as records for highest-ever recorded encounters of two insect species.



Chris Millbern, a member of the mapping team from the National Geographic and Rolex Perpetual Planet Extreme Expedition to Mt. Everest, operates a drone as he works to complete the most detailed photogrammetry data collection at Everest Base Camp. Learn more at www.natgeo.com/everest. Photo by Mark Fisher, National Geographic.

b_lumenkraft

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Re: International project "Ice Memory"
« Reply #18 on: July 01, 2019, 05:14:09 PM »
Wow, awesome!

Thanks for sharing AM2! :)