Ice Core Drilling In Antarctica

by Bernhard Bereiter

In this video we drill 3 meters into the Taylor Glacier in Antarctica to obtain ice samples that were last exposed to the earth surface about 20,000 years ago, during the last glacial maximum (LGM). The ice preserved many features of that period in form of solids in the ice (such as dust particles), in form of the ice molecule composition (water isotopes), and in form of atmospheric air trapped in the ice. Our focus is on the trapped air from which we can learn how high the greenhouse gas concentrations were back in this time, how this concentrations changed over time, and what the underlying mechanism were behind these changes. These findings help us to better understand and predict how the climate will react to the human-made changes of today, in particular for time scale of the next several hundred to thousand of years.