EGU2024 Call for abstracts now open!

EGU2024 Call for abstracts is now open.

Several DEEPICE members, including supervisors and 2 early stage researchers, will convene a session on the “State-of-the-art in ice core sciences” (session CL1.2.4), in the context of the new challenges ahead, including the retrieval of old, highly thinned ice, interpretation of altered chemical signals, and the integration of chemical proxies into earth system models.

The session will be devoted to all aspects of ice core science and technology, including drilling and processing, dating, analytical techniques, results and interpretations of ice core records from polar ice sheets and mid- and low-latitude glaciers, remote and autonomous methods of surveying ice stratigraphy, proxy system modelling and related earth system modelling.

We invite all researchers from the ice core community attending EGU2024 to submit an abstract by January 10, 2024. We particularly encourage submissions from early career researchers from across the broad international ice core science community.

More information are available here:

1st DEEPICE scientific article published: Stagnant ice and age modelling in the Dome C region, Antarctica

Ailsa Chung’s article about stagnant ice and age modelling in the region of Dome C (Antarctica) was published in The Cryosphere in August 2023. This is the very first article with a DEEPICE PhD student as main author that has been published.

We combined a numerical model with radar measurements in order to determine the age of ice in the Dome C region of Antarctica. Our results show that at the current ice core drilling sites on Little Dome C, the maximum age of the ice is almost 1.5 Ma. We also highlight a new potential drill site called North Patch with ice up to 2 Ma. Finally, we explore the nature of a stagnant ice layer at the base of the ice sheet which has been independently observed and modelled but is not well understood.

Ailsa Chung

The article is accessible here.




Cloud-hunting at high altitudes

Cloud-hunting at high altitudes

Article written by Hanne Notø, December 23, 2022

The night train brought me to Vienna in the early morning of Monday November 21. There, I was meeting my colleagues from TU Wien who were coming with me to my field campaign at Mt. Sonnblick. We set off towards the Alps, the car packed with sampling equipment, clothes for -20 C, and of course the essentials: snacks. We reached the end of the Rauris valley, but from there we could only reach the observatory at 3106 m using the gondola. The ride up was spent in complete darkness, but we could see the light of the observatory up on the top of the mountain.

The gondola taking us and the equipment up 1500 m to the observatory. The photo on the right is the observatory seen from the gondola in daylight

After arriving at the observatory we were served dinner and got to meet some of the other scientists who were there at the time. Coinciding with my stay at Sonnblick was an intercomparison campaign on cloud droplet measurements. The goal of my stay at Sonnblick was to collect cloudwater, snow and aerosol particle samples. The composition and concentrations of semi-colatile organic matter in the samples will be compared. The samples will be analyzed using a Thermal Desorption Proton-Transfer-Reaction Mass Spectrometer (TD-PTR-MS), which allows us to measure semi-volatile organic compounds in different matrices. This allows us to compare aerosol particles on filters with liquid samples such as cloudwater and melted snow. This will help better understand the transport of organic matter in the atmosphere and how it is deposited on snow, which may help the interpretation of organic matter in ice cores.

Since the location of the Sonnblick observatory is quite remote, this will allow the collection of relatively ‘clean’ samples, representing European background levels. Past studies on aerosols at Sonnblick also serve as grounds for comparison, which may help the analysis and interpretation of the data.

PM1 aerosol filter sampler. Air is pumped from the outside of the observatory and passes through a filter where particles are trapped.

Collecting snow samples from the surface

On the first morning, we set up the cloudwater sampler and aerosol filter sampler. We then made a sampling plan and decided on the division of night-shifts. The cloudwater sampling was quite time-intensive and required us to check or collect the sample every 30-60 minutes. If it was cloudy around the observatory during the night, somebody had to stay up and collect the samples.

The cloudwater sampler: air is pumped through a narrow slit and smaller particles are directed around the sampler inside (depicted on right), while larger cloud water droplets with too high momentum collide with the plate and freeze upon impact. This forms a “cloud ice cube” in the shape of the slit, which can be collected.

In the time between sampling and when it wasn’t cloudy, we tried to get some sleep and do some work. There is a hiking hut connected to the observatory, which is where we slept and ate. All our meals were prepared by the hut manager, who was kind enough to keep the hut open while us scientists were there. Normally the hut is only open in the summer months, when the mountain is accessible for hiking. In the winter it is difficult to hike in the area, and because of the snow, glaciers and cliffs surrounding the hut. We could therefore only walk on one side of it, plus the terrace on the top of the roof where the instruments were mounted. In other words, we spent a lot of time indoors. When the weather was clear, the view was incredible! I added a few photos below, but I took a couple hundred photos during my stay !!

The first few days I could feel the altitude’s effect on my body. I felt persistently tired, couldn’t sleep well for the first few nights and felt like my heart was in my throat every time I walked up the stairs. Nonetheless, samples were collected and logged, and we collected cloudwater from every cloud event that occurred. Occationally, the cloudwater sampler would freeze shut. When that happened we had to carefully remove the sample, scrape away the frost and insert a clean sampler. The longest cloud event we observed lasted 23 hours. We were sampling day and night, and collected a total of 26 cloudwater samples. During the entire campaign, a total of nearly 100 samples were collected. These samples will be analyzed in Utrecht in January 2023.

After ten days of staying in the hut, I felt quite ready to go back home to my normal routine. However, I really enjoyed my time at Sonnblick and would love to go back if given the opportunity! I would like to thank the staff at Sonnblick and the people at TU Wien who came with me just to help me collect samples, my campaign would not have been possible without them.

Auf wiedersehen!

Beyond Epica deep drilling campaign begins in Antarctica

Beyond Epica deep drilling campaign begins in Antarctica

The Little Dome C site in Antarctica has reopened for the second ice core drilling campaign of the international research project coordinated by the Institute of Polar Sciences of the CNR (National Research Council of Italy). By analysing the ice cores extracted from the deep ice in Antarctica, the project aims to obtain information dating back to 1.5 million years ago, regarding the evolution of temperature, the composition of the atmosphere, and the carbon cycle. The team includes 15 people and aims to start deep drilling to reach depths of a few hundred metres

As summer in the southern hemisphere draws near, researchers are starting to work again at the remote Little Dome C site in Antarctica. An international team made up of 15 people will begin the deep drilling campaign for the European project Beyond EPICA – Oldest Ice. They will work for over two months on the Antarctic plateau at 3.200 metres above sea level, where the average summer temperature is -35°C. Over the next few years, the analysis of an ice core extracted from a depth of 2.7 km will enable the reconstruction of the world’s climate history, going back in time by 1.5 million years to discover information on temperature and on the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This project is fundamental for paleoclimatology studies.

The project has been funded by the European Commission with 11 million euros. It is coordinated by Carlo Barbante, director of the Institute of Polar Sciences of the National Research Council of Italy (CNR-ISP) and professor at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. The project involves twelve European and non-European international research institutes. On the Italian side, in addition to the CNR and Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA) is in charge, together with the French Polar Institute (IPEV), of managing the logistics.

The activities of the Beyond EPICA – Oldest Ice project benefit from a synergy with the research conducted in the framework of the Italian Antarctic Research Programme (PNRA), which is funded by MUR, and coordinated by the CNR (scientific activities) and by ENEA (campaign management).

Little Dome C is an area of 10 km2, located 35 km from the Italian-French Concordia Station — one of the most extreme places on the Earth. This year’s campaign will last until the end of January 2023.

“In the previous campaign, despite the prohibitive weather conditions, with gusts of wind and temperature almost always below -40°C, we set up a campsite that can host up to 15 people for a few months, as well as a complex drilling system,” says Carlo Barbante, who participated in the 2021/2022 campaign. “Our starting point will be 130 metres deep, which is the depth we reached last year. In this campaign we will conduct deep drilling. Our hope is to reach a depth of a few hundred metres by the end of January 2023.”

The climate and the environmental history of our planet is archived in the ice, which can therefore reveal information from hundreds of millennia ago on the evolution of temperature and the composition of the atmosphere. Researchers will be able to assess the content of greenhouse gases, such as methane and carbon dioxide, in the atmosphere of the past link these findings to how the temperature evolved.

“We believe this ice core will give us information on the climate of the past and on the greenhouse gasses that were in the atmosphere during the Mid-Pleistocene Transition (MPT), which happened between 900,000 and 1.2 million years ago,” says Barbante. “During this transition, climate periodicity between ice ages changed from 41,000 to 100,000 years: the reason why this happened is the mystery we hope to solve.”

Here are the members of the 2022/2023 team: Frank Wilhelms, Matthias Hüther, Gunther Lawer, Martin Leonhardt and Johannes Lemburg from the Alfred Wegener Institute (Germany), Robert Mulvaney from the British Antarctic Survey (UK), Julien Westhoff from the University of Copenhagen (Denmark), Romain Duphil from the University of Grenoble-Alpes (France), Romilly Harris Stuart from Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement and DEEPICE PhD candidate (France), Giuditta Celli from CNR – Istituto di Scienze Polari and PhD candidate at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice (Italy), Saverio Panichi, Michele Scalet and Andrea De Vito from ENEA — the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (Italy). Markus Grimmer and Florian Krauss from the University of Bern (Switzerland) will provide support from the Concordia Station

Interested in hearing more about this new field season?

Follow the field diary available on Beyond EPICA website !

Source: Beyond EPICA press release

The drill tent has been officially reopened, thanks to Saverio, Michele and Claudio! Next step: opening the entire camp!
Credits: SaverioPNRA/IPEV



DEEPICE PhD students will attend IPICS Conference in Crans Montana. On the 2nd of October, they will participate in the workshop organised by the network ICYS (Ice Core Young Scientists).

They will also present their during the IPICS Conference (see DEEPICE program below, and the full program here).

DEEPICE network will also meet on the 3rd of October for the 2nd annual meeting of the project.