SECRETS OF THE INLAND ICE
Ice core science
The Inland Ice of Greenland offers a natural resource that is both powerful and immense. This remote destination still offers uncharted territory which is why it attracts scientists, pioneers and explorers from all over the world. Glaciology is the science that studies ice and natural phenomena involving ice and ice core drilling is a scientific tool that is used to gain an understanding of the processes which are causing the ice to disappear. In this process, cores are drilled with hand augers (for shallow holes) or powered drills that can reach depths of over two miles (3.2 km) and contain ice up to 800,000 years old.
Like a prehistoric fly trapped in amber during the prehistoric era, ancient airborne particles, relics of Earth's earlier climate can end up trapped in the Inland Ice for eons. By measuring isotopes, methane, ammonia, sulphur and calcium in the ice, information about forest fires, volcanic eruptions, wind directions, water levels and past temperatures can be uncovered.
To climate scientists, these relics reveal how our planet's climate and atmosphere have changed over thousands of years – and armed with this valuable knowledge, their aim is to be able to predict present and future climate change, particularly in relation to current global warming.