Searching for the World’s Oldest Ice

Searching for the World’s Oldest Ice

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Mountain tops reaching above the ice sheet on Queen Maud land in Antarctica. This winter’s drillings, through the 3 kilometer thick ice, will occur on a different location. Picture by: Raimund Muscheler.

Raimund Muscheler is a Quaternary geologist at the Faculty of Science at Lund University and has a key role in the search for the world’s oldest ice. By analyzing the ancient ice, scientists are hoping to improve future weather forecasts.

Project Beyond Epica – oldest ice is a collaboration between 14 European institutions and seats of learning. Raimund Muscheler is a Quaternary geologist at the Faculty of Science at Lund University and has a key role in the search for the world’s oldest ice. The oldest ice that has been analyzed so far is about 800 000 years old. Now, the target is to find ice that is almost twice as old.
– My team is in charge of determining the age of the ice by analyzing radionuclides. We are examining samples of ice that has been found about 3 kilometers deep in the Antarctic bedrock, he says.

Scientists are expecting the analyses to tell us about the climate, and what processes that affected the climate, more than one million years ago, like the occurrence of greenhouse gas for instance. With knowledge about past climates scientists hope to improve the climate prognoses about the climate of the future and be able to predict climate change.
– A better understanding of the climate system will hopefully lead us towards taking the appropriate measures to avoid big climate changes, says Raimund Muscheler.

The EU is contributing with 2.2 million Euros to finance the project that is coordinated by the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany.

 

Written by Tindra Englund  Translated by Cecilia Eriksson

 

 

 

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