Centre people to Antarctic – University of Copenhagen

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05 December 2013

Centre people to Antarctic

In the beginning of December 2013 three scientists from the Centre for Ice and Climate fly to the Antarctic. First stop is the coastal station, Casey, where they are to spend well over a week with the final preparations before they by a small Basler air-plane fly the 550 km inland to the Aurora Basin North. During the antarctic summer they participate in an international project whose aim is to drill a 400 meter long ice core.

In their luggage they bring the newly developed drilling system that is easy to set up on the ice, and as something completely new, is capable of drilling even more than the 400 meters into the ice within the six weeks´ project.

The three people from the Centre for Ice and Climate who participate in the project have many years of experience of ice core drilling from Greenland as well as the Antarctic.

Simon Sheldon (left) has been in charge of the development of Centre for Ice and Climate´s new ice core drilling system that is to drill the 400 meter long ice core on the An-tarctic during 2013 – 14. Trevor Popp (right) will be in charge of a small drilling team of six people. To finish the drilling before the Antarctic summer ends they will have to work two shifts

Simon Sheldon shall ensure that the new Hans Tausen drilling system gets up and running as fast as possible – a system of which he has been in charge of the development for the last 1 ½ years.

Trevor Popp is appointed to lead the drilling project together with Mark Curran from the Australian Antarctic Division. To finish the drilling within six weeks time they will have to work two shifts.

Jørgen Peder Steffensen is to document, measure and carry out acidity measurements of the ice cores, as soon as they are drilled.

The international ice core drilling is headed by the Australian Antarctic Division. Centre for Ice and Climate has developed and does supply the drilling equipment for the project.

AlSO READ Center for Ice and Climate participates with a new developed drilling system in an Antarctic project

Several good reasons to drill at Aurora Basin North – ABN
Aurora Basin North is located in 2694 meters altitude in the East Antarctic High Plateau that belongs to the Australian territory in the Antarctic.

There are many good reasons to this area having been chosen to the drilling of a 400
meter long ice core as part of IPICS´s white paper from 2004. (IPICS is the International Partnership in ICe Core Sciences). Here it was decided to drill a large number of medium long ice cores on the northern and southern hemisphere:

- ABN is an area in Antarctic where ice core drillings have never taken place and climate data from this same area is non existing in the total climate data picture.

- The annual amount of precipitation is around 11 cm. The heavy annual precipitation makes each year´s layer in the ice easy to identify and because of this the core contains very detailed climate data – you can compare this to a thick book written in capital letters.

- The ice layer at ABN is one of the thickest in Antarctic and contains some of the oldest ice in the world. The scientists hope that the drilling project at ABN in 2013 – 14, as a side reward will indicate if it is possible at a later time to drill a long ice core in that area. The ice core will cover more than a million years and will give important information on the big climate changes. It is e.g. an unanswered question why the major climate changes between the ice ages and the interglacial periods a million years ago differed with an interval from 40.000 years till today´s interval of a 100.000 years. 
READ more about the Aurora Basin North project >>

READ IPICS White paper - The IPICS 2k Array (pdf-file)

READ IPICS White paper - Ice Core Drilling Technical Challenges (pdf-file)