Research plan


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

Work package 1 – Technical innovation for deep ice core analysis

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)  


ESR 1: Geochemical characterization of single dust particles in ice core

ESR 2: Thermo-desorption PTR-MS for measuring organic compounds in deep ice

ESR 3: Laser Ablation for water isotopic analysis with particular focus in spectral estimation for diffusion studies

ESR 4: Improvements and application of the laser techniques LA-ICP-MS for high resolution non-destructive elemental analyses on ice cores

ESR 5: Developing an instrument to make continuous observations of the crystal size on a 1m polished surface of an ice core

Work package 2 – Quantification of processes responsible for creation and alteration of the climate signal in the ice core

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 6: Quantification and correction of “in situ” production of N2O in ice cores

ESR7: Stratigraphy, impurity and crystal preferred orientation impact on inhomogeneous deformation to locate disturbed basal ice 

ESR8:36Cl in Antarctic ice cores – developing a key dating tool and climate proxy 

ESR 9: Retrieval of the oldest paleoclimatic signal in basal ice, insights from a large-scale multi-parametric study?

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

ESR 11: Evolution of snow and air circulating in snow beyond the surface of Antarctic ice sheet 

Work package 3 – Modelling & statistics: a framework for ice core interpretations

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)


ESR 12: Estimating and accounting for diffusion in deep ice using advanced statistical methods


ESR 13: Coupled atmosphere-ocean modelling:  Interpreting Antarctic deep ice 


ESR 14: Combining an ice flow model with radar observations in the Dome C area, Antarctica


ESR 15: Investigating the MPT from an Earth System perspective