Dating antarctic ice cores
The distinguishing characteristic of the project was the development of environmental records of the last glacial period and early Holocene, with greater time resolution and dating precision than previous Antarctic ice cores. Siple Coast and Amundsen Sea ice streams are shown by blue shading. The selected site was near an ice-flow divide and characterized by a combination of moderate ice accumulation rate, thick ice, and other characteristics that preserved environmental records with the desired time resolution and duration (Morse et al., 2002; Neumann et al., 2008).
This is particularly true for the records of atmospheric gases, water isotopes, and chemistry. Locations of the WAIS Divide (WDC), Byrd, and Siple Dome ice cores and the Ohio Range (OR) and Mt. Logistics support for field operations was initially provided by Raytheon Polar Services Company and later by NSF's Antarctic Support Contractor.
About 10 years ago, scientists drilled a 2-mile-long (3.2 kilometers) core of ice from Antarctica that revealed 800,000 years of the planet's climate history.
Over that period, concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide, tended to rise with temperature.
Carbon dating doesn’t work well on ice because carbon-14 is produced in the ice itself by cosmic rays and only goes back some 50,000 years.
Drilling support was provided by the Ice Drilling Program Office and the Ice Drilling Design and Operations group at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.Ice cores are highly valued in paleoclimate research because they record environmental parameters that range on spatial scales from individual snowflakes to the Earth's atmosphere and on time scales from hours to hundreds of millennia.