Toward a better understanding of climate of the past million years

Quaternary Climate: From Pole to Pole—EPICA Open Science Conference; Venice, Italy, 10–13 November 2008; The European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica (EPICA) has provided unique paleoclimatic data and is now widely recognized and cited in hundreds of scientific papers. EPICA is a multinational project that has successfully drilled and analyzed two Antarctic ice cores to bedrock. The first one, at Dome C (75°06'S, 123°21'E, 3233 meters above sea level, 3259.7-meter core length), has yielded a complete stratigraphically ordered sequence covering the past 800,000 years, almost doubling the length of previous Antarctic records (Vostok). The exceptional similarity of the Antarctic temperature and carbon dioxide (CO2) records highlights the likely role of the Southern Ocean in the carbon cycle, while other trace gas and chemical profiles show the close coupling between different aspects of the Earth system. The second EPICA core, in Dronning Maud Land (75°00'S, 00°04'E, 2892 meters above sea level, 2774.2-meter core length), has provided a very high resolution record of a complete glacial cycle in the Atlantic sector, confirming theoretical predictions regarding the coupling of the two hemispheres during millennial-scale climate changes. In this ice core, Antarctic counterparts were found to each of the rapid Dansgaard-Oeschger climate change events prominent in Greenland and other Northern Hemisphere records of the glacial period; from Dome C data it appears that such events may have occurred in each previous glacial period.


Publication status:
Authors: Barbante, Carlo, Fischer, Hubertus, Masson-Delmotte, Valerie, Stocker, Thomas, Waelbroeck, Claire, Wolff, Eric W.

On this site: Eric Wolff
1 January, 2009
Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union / 90