Photo: ice coring
Ice cores provide an important record of climate for periods long before instruments were used to record climate observations. They provide a record of the natural variability of climate to compare with current changes. They also allow us to assess the sensitivity of the climate to other forces and provide a way of testing climate models. Ice cores have been used to identify significant links between the Antarctic and Australian climate (News article: Links between Southwest West Australian Drought and East Antarctic Snowfall).
However, climate records from the Southern Hemisphere are relatively sparse and of short duration, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has highlighted the need for more comprehensive records. ACE scientists are working to obtain additional high resolution climate records – across time and space - from East Antarctica. This data will be used to investigate regional and hemispheric climate processes, with an emphasis on connections to the Australian climate. ACE is also researching the effects of variations in solar activity and greenhouse gas over the last glacial cycle.
The extensive archive of ice core material used in this project will be augmented with two new ice cores from East Antarctica. Target sites include one near the coast with high snowfall and an inland site, in the Aurora Basin, with a lower accumulation of snow. Ice core measurements are undertaken in the ACE laboratories in Hobart and elsewhere in partnership with external collaborators.
Photo: ice core