It's a freezing cold day inside the National Ice Core Laboratory (NICL) in Denver, Colo., as it is every day of the year. That's because the NICL is a facility for storing and studying ice cores recovered from the polar regions of the world. It's minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit inside, so everyone is bundled up in ski parkas, insulated gloves and boots. And, saws are buzzing, as scientists from all over the U.S. are measuring and cutting pieces of precious Antarctic glacier ice to take back to their labs for research. While their research goals vary, all the scientists are here on this day for same thing - ice cores from the WAIS Divide Ice Core project.
Studying ice cores at the National Ice Core Lab, Dr. Richard Alley shows how ancient ice contains records of Earth's past climate. Over 400,000 years, and even longer, levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) have risen and fallen from about 180 parts per million to 280, varying from colder in the Ice Ages to warmer in interglacial periods. Today, however, for the first time in more than 400,000 years, CO2 is at 390 parts per million and continuing to rise at 2 parts per million (ppm) per year. Alley relates the onset of this change to the Industrial Revolution.
This excellent short video, filmed during the 2010 WAIS Divide core processing line (CPL), provides a good summary of how many CPLs are carried out at the National Ice Core Laboratory (NICL).
The video was filmed and produced by Logan Mitchell at Oregon State University.
At the Stable Isotope Lab in Boulder, Colo., scientists are doing a lot of the same things that those CSI folks do on TV. But instead of being "crime scene investigators," these experts are more like "cold scene investigators." Geoscientists like lab director Jim White work primarily with one raw material: ancient ice, in the form of ice cores.
The ice cores come from Greenland and Antarctica. And, says White, they hold secrets from thousands of years ago.
CarbonTracker, a project of the U.S. government's National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration's Earth System Research Laboratory, has produced a telling time-lapse video chart of CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) concentrations starting in January of 1979 and ending in January of 2011. Measurements were taken in dozens of locations around the world (the red ball measures CO2 in Hawaii and the blue dot measures CO2 at the South Pole). You'll notice the dramatic run up in CO2 concentrations since 1979 in comparison to the previous 800,000 years of history. The ice core CO2 data starts at roughly the 2:00 minute mark.
Bess Koffman, PhD Student at the University of Maine, explains how ice cores are used to study global climate change.
South Dakota State Univ. chemistry professor Jihong Cole-Dai and colleagues have discovered evidence of a previously undocumented volcano whose eruption may have contributed to the climate change in the early 1800s.
Their ice core research sheds light on the cause of "the year without a summer" and may help scientist better understand the causes of climate change and global warming.
This 20 minute video explains how ice cores and climate models are used to predict future climate. No warm and fuzzies, just the science. Travel with a scientist from his field site in Antarctica where ancient ice is collected, to the labs where measurements are made to determine how greenhouse gases change climate, to the computer facilities used to predict future climate.
A widely circulated piece of climate denial nonsense purports to use legitimate evidence from greenland ice cores to debunk the record of global warming.
Displaying temperature records out of context, and making the claim of legitimacy by citing the data, and it's primary author, Dr Richard Alley, this popular propaganda piece pretends to be based on actual evidence, when it is anything but.
Further explanation here:
UMaine researchers study the effects of climate change in Denali National Park.
In July of 2009, Climate Central senior research scientist Heidi Cullen traveled to Greenland with a production team from StormCenter Communications to visit the North Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling Project, or NEEM. Scientists from 14 nations gather together each summer in northern Greenland, where they work to drill a core of solid ice, looking into the past for clues to future climate change.
In May and June 2007, Mary Albert (CRREL) and Jeff Severinghaus (Scripps) led a team of 9 researchers and 3 drillers in a 3-week project to drill down through nearly 125 meters of "firn" and ice close to NSF's Summit Station, Greenland. "Firn" is multi-year snow before it's transformed into solid ice through the pressure of layer upon layer of new snow each successive year. Understanding the physical structure of the firn and the gases trapped in it, is essential to properly interpreting the ice core record, and understanding what cores reveal about Earth's past climate.
ARMY.MIL - U.S. Army Corps of Engineer scientists, including Mary Albert, spent months in the coldest place on earth drilling ice cores.
Professor Richard Alley reports from Greenland on the biggest climate change study since the last ice age. By drilling down into the ice scientists are able to chart the temperatures of the last 100,000 years, and the results are somewhat surprising. Fascinating clip taken from the BBC Horizon programme Big Chill.