by Holli Riebeek· design by Robert Simmon· December 19, 2005 Richard Alley might have envied paleoceanographer Jerry Mc Manus’ warm, ship-board lab.
(See previous installment: “A Record from the Deep.”) One of the researchers in the Greenland Ice Sheet Project 2 (GISP2), Alley huddled in a narrow lab cut into the Greenland Ice Sheet, where “the temperature stayed at a ‘comfortable’ twenty below [Fahrenheit],” he wrote in his book about his research, An assembly line of science equipment lined the twenty-foot-deep trench that served as a makeshift lab.
A 3.2-km-long ice core drilled almost a decade ago at Dome Concordia (Dome C) in Antarctica revealed 800,000 years of climate history, showing that greenhouse gases and temperature have mostly moved in lockstep.
While their research goals vary, all the scientists are here on this day for same thing--ice cores from the WAIS Divide Ice Core project. The WAIS Divide is a high point on the ice sheet where the ice begins to flow in different directions.
For six weeks every summer between 19, Alley and other scientists pushed columns of ice along the science assembly line, labeling and analyzing the snow for information about past climate, then packaging it to be sent for further analysis and cold storage at the National Ice Core Laboratory in Denver, Colorado.
Nearby, a specially built drill bored into the thick ice sheet twenty-four hours a day under the perpetual Arctic sun.
It's a freezing cold day inside the National Ice Core Laboratory (NICL) in Denver, Colo., as it is every day of the year.
That's because the NICL is a facility for storing and studying ice cores recovered from the polar regions of the world.