Scientists from 14 European institutions in 10 countries this week begin the search for the oldest ice on the planet. The Beyond EPICA – Oldest Ice project aims to find a location in Antarctica where a continuous ice core record can be extracted, containing 1.5 million year old ice. Analysis of the ice core, and the tiny bubbles of atmosphere trapped within it, will allow for precise reconstructions of the Earth’s past climate. Data gathered as part of this project hopes to improve palaeoclimatic reconstructions to improve understanding of global climate dynamics and provide additional confidence to models, predictions and forecasts of future climatic changes.
“We've got a very good record of what's been happening over the last 800,000 years but there are some aspects which we cannot fully explain” Dr. Robert Mulvaney of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) told BBC News, "By studying ice that's 1.5 million years old, it should give us the underpinning belief that we really do so deeply understand the climate system that we can be absolutely sure that what we're projecting for the next few hundred years is based on a complete knowledge of the science"
The Beyond EPICA – Oldest Ice project is coordinated by Prof. Dr. Olaf Eisen of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), and funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme. Several European Polar Board members are among the participating institutions.
More information can be found at http://www.beyondepica.eu/ and http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-37953424