Ice cores have been a tool for science since the Cold War, after it was discovered that air bubbles trapped in ice are science rich time capsules. Each layer of ice is a world unto itself. As Jeff Severinghaus, of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, tells Dr. Cullen, "The beautiful thing about an ice core is that it has all of these different indicators: atmospheric composition, mean ocean temperature, dust."
Dr. Cullen also reports that the Greenland project employs a new field technique cutting a thin slab of the ice core, melting it, and conducting a millimeter-by-millimeter analysis of the drip water. When drilling ended for the 2009 summer season samples from one mile down had been retrieved, dating back over 38,000 years. Scientists hope to reach Eemian ice in the summer of 2011.
None of this is to suggest that a massive, accelerated melting of Greenland is in the offing any time soon but as the San Francisco Bay analogy highlights the melting in Greenland demands careful attention be paid.
|Contact: Iveta Weinberg|