Oregon State University will lead a US National Science Foundation-funded effort to discover Antarctica’s oldest ice. It will help them to learn more about how Earth's climate has changed over its history. They have announced that the Centre for Oldest Ice Exploration, or COLDEX, will be created after receiving a $25million grant.
The centre will bring together experts from across the US to generate knowledge about earth's climate system and share this knowledge to advance efforts to address climate change and its impacts.
Dr Ed Brook, a paleoclimatologist in OSU's College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, said: "This is fundamental exploration science. What we're after is to see how the Earth behaves when it is warmer than it has been in the last one million years. In order to do that, we have to find and collect ice cores that go back that far."
Currently, the oldest sample that scientists have of Antarctic ice goes back 800,000 years. Dr Brook said he hopes the new project will be able to drill into the ice and uncover secrets from 1.5 million years ago.
The mission also hopes to locate much older ice, perhaps up to even three million years old. Ice that old is not likely to be found in a continuous record, but initial research shows that patches of older ice are trapped in the mountains around Antarctica.
Dr Brooks added: "This ice and the ancient air trapped in it will offer an unprecedented record of how greenhouse gases and climate are linked in warmer climates and will help to advance our understanding of what controls the long-term rhythms of Earth's climate system."
Source: Daily Express