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Chasing ice: how ice cores shape our understanding of ancient climate

Tas van Ommen writes in The Conversation (7.3.16) about the significance of ice cores samples in gauging the extent of climate change.

‘It is just over 50 years since French scientist Claude Lorius dropped some glacier ice in his whisky and started a quest that continues today. Lorius was studying glaciers in Antarctica and wondered if the air bubbling out of some ice he had drilled that day might carry information from the past.

‘The answer to that question was “yes”. We now know that ice cores carry a rich archive of past information in the bubbles and the ice itself.

‘This week the world’s ice core community is meeting in Hobart as the 24 nations of the International Partnerships in Ice Core Sciences (IPICS) gather. IPICS was formed in 2004 to help coordinate and guide this highly collaborative branch of science. Large ice-coring projects involve challenging logistics in the harshest environments on earth, so well-developed and coordinated programs are important.’

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