The DEEPICE research plan comprises three interconnected scientific work packages (WPs).
WP1: Technical innovation for deep ice core analysis
WP2: Quantification of processes responsible for creation and alteration of the climate signal in the ice core
WP3: Modelling & statistics – a framework for ice core interpretations
This WP will develop the highly specialized technical equipment and analytical procedures needed to address the challenges posed by the Beyond EPICA deep ice core: the strong thinning (1 m for 10 000 years) and small drilling section (10 cm diameter) makes each sample tremendously precious. New instrumentation will be developed to measure chemical and isotopic species on micro-quantities, to perform continuous flow measurements on numerous chemical species at the same time on the same sample, and to obtain key physical properties information on deep ice which is highly thinned and can be folded hence jeopardising its climatic interpretation. Increasing measurement sensitivity and reducing sample size will therefore be a priority for this WP, together with analytical techniques that allow several proxies (including new proxies) to be quantified on the same ice sample.
Credit: H. Fischer (Univ. Bern)
WP2 will concentrate on quantifying the processes affecting the records of past climate and environmental variatons stored in the old ice and gas samples obtained from ice cores. This goal will be achieved by the acquisition of new datasets from existing old ice samples (strong synergy with WP1) and new datasets of environmental and geochemical parameters from the dry and cold East Antarctic Plateau.
Specifically, WP2 aims at characterizing the effects of mechanical dispersion, diffusion or in-situ production in the ice core (which are especially pronounced in very old, highly thinned ice), and the link between the environmental parameters and the ice core geochemical parameters. The site of the oldest ice core (East Antarctic plateau) is characterized by very low temperature and accumulation which strongly affect the surface transfer functions associated with archiving of ice and gas proxies. These special conditions challenge the quantitative reconstruction of climate and environmental variability and it therefore calls for combined surface field studies and analysis of ice samples from deep in the Antarctic Ice Sheet.
This WP will combine experimental tools (in strong synergy with WP1) as well as statistical and modeling tools (in strong synergy with WP3).
Surface science. Credit: HC Steen-Larsen (Univ. Bergen)
ESR 10: Interpretation of the water isotope climate signal on the East Antarctic plateau through continuous measurements of isotopic composition of water vapour, precipitation, surface snow and subsurface snow
The WP3 aims at optimally interpreting the precious proxy data from the 1.5 Myr Antarctic ice core so they can contribute to our understanding of the climate dynamics of the mid Pleistocene transition. It develops the statistical tools to best extract proxy signals and to optimize the measurements in concert with WP1.
It uses (water isotope enabled) climate models to allow the best climatic interpretation of the proxy signals (such as water isotopes studied in WP2).
Finally, it uses long climate and ice-sheet model simulations to set these climatic interpretations in a global context with the ultimate aim to better understand and predict Antarctic and global climate dynamics.
Credit: V. Gkinis (Univ. Copenhagen)