NEWS

Registration is Now Open for the 2014 Science Meeting

May 6, 2014

The 2014 WAIS Divide Ice Core science meeting will be a 3-day event. The dates are September 22-24, 2014 and it will be held at the Scripps Seaside Forum at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, CA.

The science meeting will have activities for all 3 days and a banquet dinner the evening of the 23rd (Tues). Everyone associated with the project is encouraged to attend (PIs, technicians, students, field support staff, drillers, NICL). Members of the broader science community that are not associated with the WAIS Divide Project are also welcome. The accompanying 'focus meetings' that we normally have during the science meeting will be held on Thursday, September 25. More...

 

WAIS Divide Update Regarding Partial Government Shutdown

October 29, 2013

The partial government shutdown forced significant changes to the U.S. Antarctic Program's (USAP) operations for the 2013-2014 field season. The WAIS Divide field camp will not be opened this season, and the borehole logging operations that were scheduled will be postponed until next season. Many other USAP projects were either reduced in scope, delayed for later in the season, or postponed until next season.

Our timing for the WAIS Divide project has been perfect. We started as soon as LC-130 flights became available after being diverted for the rebuilding of the new Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, the economic stimulus package provided additional resources for many of our labs just when the samples were coming in, and we finished the core recovery before the partial government shutdown.

There will be no field updates this season since there are no field operations at WAIS Divide.

 

WAIS Divide Research Published in Nature :: Press Release

August 14, 2013

Earth orbit changes key to Antarctic warming that ended last ice age

For more than a century scientists have known that Earth's ice ages are caused by the wobbling of the planet's orbit, which changes the orientation to the sun and affects the amount of sunlight reaching higher latitudes, particularly the polar regions.

The Northern Hemisphere's last ice age ended about 20,000 years ago, and most evidence has indicated that the ice age in the Southern Hemisphere ended about 2,000 years later, suggesting that the south was responding to warming in the north.

But new research published online Aug. 14 in Nature shows that Antarctic warming began at least two, and perhaps four, millennia earlier than previously thought.

Full Press Release...


Read paper via Nature magazine's website (subscription required)

 

Registration is Now Open for the 2013 Science Meeting

June 21, 2013

The 2013 WAIS Divide Ice Core science meeting will be held on September 24-25 (Tues-Weds) at the Scripps Seaside Forum in La Jolla, California. The meeting will have activities for all of both days and the evening of the 24th. Everyone associated with the project is encouraged to attend (PIs, technicians, students, field support staff, drillers, NICL). Additional focus meetings will be held on Monday, September 23 to provide an opportunity to go into greater depth on topics of interest to only a portion of the WAIS Divide community. More...

 

Antarctic Ice Core Contains Unrivaled Detail of Past Climate :: NSF Press Release

February 5, 2013

WAIS Divide Core will allow for examination of annual snowfall for each of the past 30,000 years

A team of U.S. ice-coring scientists and engineers in Antarctica, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), have recovered from the ice sheet a record of past climate and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that extends back 68,000 years.

Retrieved from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS), the ice containing the record is known as the WAIS Divide ice core. The cylinders of ice that make up the core contain uniquely detailed information on past environmental conditions such as the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases, surface air temperature, wind patterns, the extent of sea ice around Antarctica, and the average temperature of the ocean.

Successfully retrieving the core is the culmination of an eight-year project to obtain a paleoclimate record from one of the remotest parts of the continent. Full Story...

 

Copy that - WAIS Divide team drills historic replicate ice core in West Antarctica

January 4, 2013

A team of scientists and drilling engineers performed the Antarctic equivalent of pulling a rabbit out of the hat deep under the ice sheet in December.

They retrieved a one-meter-long ice core from about 3,000 meters down a borehole drilled through the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). That in itself isn't unusual. Thousands of meters of ice have been extracted from Antarctica over the last half-century, and are one of the most reliable sources for reconstructing past climate.

The difference this time around involved reentering the 3,405-meter-deep hole the team completed last season, and collecting additional core along a path that is parallel to the existing borehole. The success of the new Replicate Coring System was a reason for celebration on Dec. 17. Full Story...

 

Innovations in Ice Drilling Enable Abrupt Climate Change Discoveries

December 17, 2012

A revolutionary drilling system leads to the retrieval of additional ice for evidence of abrupt climate change from the Antarctic Ice Sheet.

Deep within ice sheets in the polar regions is an archive of evidence about the climate of the past. Ice cores drilled in the past have yielded amazing scientific discoveries, for example that climate can change abruptly in less than ten years, and that the CO2 in the atmosphere now is higher than evidenced from the last 800,000 years. At the WAIS Divide site, a cold area of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet where the abundant snowfall rarely melts, the ice contains many tens of thousands of years of annual information about past climate. At specific depths in the ice sheet, including from times of abrupt climate change in the past, scientists are investigating past greenhouse gas records and other evidence from the ice that will help to understand why and how abrupt changes occur.

Now, for the first time, significant innovations in drilling engineering are providing scientists with replicate ice cores from targeted depths and directions in the ice sheet. The newly developed, state-of-the-art Replicate Coring System is capable of retrieving additional ice cores from specific depths on the uphill side of the main borehole. Full Story...


 

WAIS Divide Camp Is Open for the 2012/13 Field Season

October 29, 2012

This is the first field update for the 2012/13 field season at WAIS Divide.

The season is off to a great start. The put-in occurred on October 26 after waiting only one day for favorable weather. This is the first time in many seasons there has been a deep field put-in before November 1. Halloween at WAIS Divide, that is a first!

The rest of the crew and is spread out between McMurdo and their homes, and everything is going smoothly.

For the latest news from the WAIS Divide field camp, read the Field Updates.

Also, as we receive photos back from the field camp we'll post them in the Field Season 2012/13 photo gallery.


 

Repeat experiment - New replicate ice core system will target abrupt climate change events

June 29, 2012

Scientists have been extracting ice cores from Antarctica for the better part of 50 years. But no one has tried to do what a team of researchers and engineers propose at the end of this year from a field camp in one of the snowiest regions of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS).

"No one in the world has developed a system to replicate ice cores at any chosen depth and at any chosen azimuth within an existing borehole," said Alex Shturmakov, director of engineering and research for Ice Drilling Design and Operations (IDDO) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Full Story...

 

Processed and packaged - Last cores from WAIS Divide borehole go through NICL

June 29, 2012

It took a month to prepare for a week's worth of work at the National Ice Core Laboratory (NICL) in Lakewood, Colo. It was a long time in coming.

But the final sections of ice core from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide were sliced and diced in mid-June, with samples of ancient ice destined for labs across the country to analyze the paleoclimate record. About 75 meters of ice were processed through NICL after the hole was deepened this past field season. Full Story...

 

Registration is Now Open for the 2012 Science Meeting

June 25, 2012

The 2012 WAIS Divide Ice Core science meeting will be held on September 11-12 (Tues-Weds) at the Scripps Seaside Forum in La Jolla, California. The meeting will have activities for all of both days and the evening of the 11th. Everyone associated with the project is encouraged to attend (PIs, technicians, students, field support staff, drillers, NICL). Additional focus meetings will be held on Monday, September 10 to provide an opportunity to go into greater depth on topics of interest to only a portion of the WAIS Divide community. More...

 

Research Highlight: The Little Ice Age Was Global, Scripps Researchers Say

June 7, 2012

An analysis by Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego researchers contradicts a common assumption among scientists that the Little Ice Age was strictly a Eurocentric affair.

The period between 1400 and 1850 was marked by an average temperature drop of just less than 1 degree C (1.8 degrees F), but not just in the Northern Hemisphere. Scripps graduate student Anais Orsi and colleagues found evidence of the same cooling trend in samples of ice from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. That contradicts prevailing theories that the Little Ice Age was not globally synchronized, but a regional cooling possibly triggered by changes in ocean circulation that created a temperature see-saw effect between the hemispheres. Full Story...

 

CO2 leads the way - New study complements ongoing research on WAIS Divide ice core

April 20, 2012

A new study, funded by the National Science Foundation and published in the journal Nature this month, suggests that rises in global temperature follow increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide.

The researchers constructed a record of global surface temperature from 80 temperature reconstructions spanning more than 20,000 years since just before the end of the last ice age, which scientists refer to as a glacial period. The reconstruction found that average temperatures around the Earth correlated with - and generally lagged behind - rising levels of CO2. Full Story...

 

The last core - WAIS Divide deepens borehole for research into climate change

January 13, 2012

A different sort of countdown was under way on New Year's Eve at a remote field camp in West Antarctica.

In this case, the count literally went down to near the bottom of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS), where drillers extracted about 72 more meters of ice cores in five days, reaching a final depth of 3,405 meters for the multiyear WAIS Divide Ice Core project. Full Story...

 

WAIS Divide Ice Core Completed!!!

January 1, 2012

HUGE event at WAIS Divide this week. The hole was deepened to its final depth of 3405 m (as measured with the drill cable). It was a stressful week with long shifts, tense moments, little sleep, and the end of a ten-year effort to get the core. Lets hope the measurements don't take that long too.

Read more...

 

2011-2012 Media & Public Guide Now Available

November 11, 2011

The purpose of the Media and Public Guide is to provide a general overview of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide Ice Core project for both the media and the general public. The Media and Public Guide discusses why we are drilling at WAIS Divide, who is involved with the project (both the scientists and support organizations), and the funded science projects.

Download Media and Public Guide (pdf)

 

WAIS Divide Camp Is Open for the 2011/12 Field Season

November 11, 2011

This is the first field update for the 2011-2012 field season. We are happy to report that the put-in crew, led by Camp Manager Dean Einerson, made it to WAIS Divide on 5-Nov. They had to try for 6 days (since 10/31) for the weather and equipment to cooperate. The photo at left shows the crew before leaving McMurdo. We hope they are still smiling that much at the end of the season!

Flight #2 arrived on 9-Nov and flight #3 arrived on 10-Nov bringing the camp population (camp staff and construction personnel) to 28. Doug Forsythe reports that they have been over to the arch to start preparations for the logging winch set up. As expected, there are large drifts that will need to be dug out before they are able to gain entry into the arch. Camp set-up is coming along quickly and everyone at camp is doing well and in good spirits.

Don Voigt is the Science Coordination Office Representative this season and is scheduled, after a flight cancellation yesterday, to depart the USA today. Don will be providing updates throughout the season.

For the latest news from the WAIS Divide field camp, read the Field Updates.

Also, as we receive photos back from the field camp we'll post them in the Field Season 2011/2012 photo gallery.

 

Getting to the Bottom - NICL team processes deepest ice from WAIS Divide project

September 2, 2011

Mick Sternberg had literally made the same measurement a thousand times before. But this meter-long ice core was perhaps just a little more special. He double-checked his numbers on the final length, stood back, and rechecked again.

"No reason to rush through this," he said under his breath, which steamed out in the freezing temperatures of the National Ice Core Laboratory's processing room.

After all, this last section of ice, drilled from near the bottom of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) at a depth of about 3,331 meters, had been waiting around for a while. Probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 55,000 to 60,000 years. Full Story...

 

Registration is Now Open for the 2011 Science Meeting

July 1, 2011

The 2011 WAIS Divide Ice Core science meeting will be held on September 28-29 (Weds-Thurs) at the Scripps Seaside Forum in La Jolla, California. The meeting will have activities for all of both days and the evening of the 28th. Everyone associated with the project is encouraged to attend (PIs, technicians, students, field support staff, drillers, NICL). We encourage people to spend Friday morning enjoying the beach with their friends. More...

 

WAIS Divide 2011 Core Processing Line Underway

June 10, 2011

During the next 10 weeks the WAIS Divide ice core will be sampled and measured at the National Ice Core Laboratory during the 2011 core processing line (CPL). This task is as important to the project as the collection of the core. The Science Coordination Office Representative for this task is Peter Neff. Each week Peter will provide an update of the CPL's progress.

For the latest CPL update, read the Field & CPL Updates page.

 

Trucked in - WAIS Divide ice cores arrive safely at NICL

March 25, 2011

Talk about a road trip.

Three semi-trailer trucks, each pulling 20-foot-long refrigeration containers, rolled into Denver on March 15 after a 24-hr trip across the southwest corner of the country from Port Hueneme, Calif.

The cargo: ice. Lots of it - about 43 pallets' worth. But this isn't ice for some fancy cocktail party. The trucks from California had hauled Antarctic ice cores to the National Ice Core Laboratory (NICL) in Lakewood, Colo.

It was the final leg of a journey that had covered some 11,000 miles. Full Story...

 

Ice Cores Yield Rich History of Climate Change :: NSF Press Release

February 1, 2011

Research project completes drilling for the year, reaching two miles below West Antarctic Ice Sheet

On Friday, Jan. 28 in Antarctica, a research team investigating the last 100,000 years of Earth's climate history reached an important milestone completing the main ice core to a depth of 3,331 meters (10,928 feet) at West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide (WAIS). The project will be completed over the next two years with some additional coring and borehole logging to obtain additional information and samples of the ice for the study of the climate record contained in the core. Full Story...

 

Deep core complete - WAIS Divide project finishes five-year effort to retrieve 3,331 meters of ice

February 1, 2011

More than 20 years in the planning.

Storms often prevented planes from arriving for days or more at a time.

In the final weeks, mechanical breakdowns of the drill and the usual weather delays appeared to derail any hopes of reaching the final depth goal for the season of 3,330 meters.

But it happened. It is done. The U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP) has drilled and recovered its longest ice core to date from the polar regions, officially hitting 3,331 meters. Full Story...

 

3,330 Meters Is Reached!!!

January 27, 2011

Dear WAIS Divide Enthusiast -

We are ELATED to pass along the fantastic news that the WAIS Divide Ice Core project has reached its goal this year of drilling 3,330 meters into the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. We just received notice from the camp that this goal was achieved at 12:24 PM on January 28, 2011 local time (6:24 PM, January 27, 2011 EST), with a final borehole depth of 3,329.956 meters. This is the second deepest ice core ever collected and could not have been achieved without the resources, dedication, commitment, perseverance and comradely of hundreds of people.

We at the WAIS Divide Science Coordination Office, on behalf of the science community, want to sincerely thank everyone for their help and support in recovering this monumental ice core. Without you, we wouldn't be at this point today. Please join us now in a toast celebrating this historic accomplishment!

Cheers,

Ken Taylor - Chief Scientist (and currently at WAIS Divide)
Mark Twickler
Joe Souney

 

Upcoming PolarConnect Live Events from WAIS Divide!

December 14, 2010

Heidi Roop will be hosting a live event from WAIS Divide to the States this Thursday Dec. 16th. Heidi will also host two other live events throughout the WAIS Divide drill season. This first event will focus on basic ice core science. People can phone in and watch a presentation live from the internet. The whole event will probably last about an hour. Last year, over 400 people joined the call to listen and ask questions. Please spread the word to anyone you think might be interested.

To register for the event and to receive instructions on how to join, go to:
http://www.polartrec.com/polar-connect/register

For those who will be at AGU, it will be run as a full session at the Marriott Hotel, Sierra Room K. Stop by and watch the presentation on a big screen!

If you can't make it to the call and are interested in the presentation, it will be archived on the PolarTREC website.

EVENT 1: Ice Core Science 101
PolarConnect Event with Heidi Roop and the Ice Core Drilling in West Antarctica 2010 Expedition
DATE: Thursday, 16 December 2010 TIME: 11:15 AM AST (12:15 PM PST, 1:15 PM MST, 2:15 PM CST, 3:15 PM EST) Note: We will be broadcasting this event live from the San Francisco Marriott, Sierra Room K at the American Geophysical Union Meeting in San Francisco, California.

EVENT 2: Life on an Ice Sheet- what is it like to live in the deep field in Antarctica?
PolarConnect Event with Heidi Roop and the Ice Core Drilling in West Antarctica 2010 Expedition
DATE: Friday, 7 January 2011 TIME: 9:00 AM AST (10:00 AM PST, 11:00 AM MST, 12:00 PM CST, 1:00 PM EST)

EVENT 3: Reaching Our Icy Goals: a summary of the last main drill season at WAIS Divide
PolarConnect Event with Heidi Roop and the Ice Core Drilling in West Antarctica 2010 Expedition
DATE: Friday, 21 January 2011 TIME: 9:00 AM AST (10:00 AM PST, 11:00 AM MST, 12:00 PM CST, 1:00 PM EST)

 

New WAIS Divide Web Site

December 2, 2010

For several technical reasons, we've upgraded the WAIS Divide web site to a new web server and software system. The web pages on this web site are now .shtml pages, rather than .html pages. As a result, any bookmarks/favorites that you had for the previous WAIS Divide web site will no longer work. We apologize for this inconvenience and hope you enjoy the new web site. If you have any questions or experience any technical difficulties, please contact Web Support.

 

WAIS Divide Camp Opens for 2010/11 Season

November 15, 2010

This is the first field update for the 2010/2011 season. The seven person put-in crew arrived by Basler at WAIS Divide on November 8. They were delayed by weather for 16 days. There is a normal amount of drifting at camp and they have prepared the skiway for LC-130 cargo flights. The second flight with the camp set-up and construction crew has also arrived and there are currently 26 RPSC/NANA folks at camp. The IDDO, NICL, and SCO crews departed the U.S. on November 15 and will arrive in Christchurch on November 17 (local time).

For the latest news from the WAIS Divide field camp, read the Field Updates.

Also, as we receive photos back from the field camp we'll post them in the Field Season 2010/2011 photo gallery.

 

It's just physics - Climate-change expert discusses greenhouse effect, utility of ice-core research

October 22, 2010

"It's just physics."

That's the mantra coming from Richard Alley, as he lightly bangs the table in emphasis, while taking a break from the 17th annual West Antarctic Ice Sheet Workshop, a conference held outside of State College, home to Pennsylvania State College.

The meeting has brought together most of the polar scientists with interests in the West Antarctic, home to a marine-based ice sheet that has become a cause of concern as the world warms up. Complete disintegration could raise sea level up to 6 meters. On the timescale of the next century, it's likely to be a major contributor in the one-meter-plus global rise many are predicting. Full Story...

 

2010/2011 Media & Public Guide Now Available

October 12, 2010

The purpose of the Media and Public Guide is to provide a general overview of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide Ice Core project for both the media and the general public. The Media and Public Guide discusses why we are drilling at WAIS Divide, who is involved with the project (both the scientists and support organizations), and the funded science projects.

Download Media and Public Guide (pdf)

 

On the line - Researchers spend summer in deep-freeze to slice and dice WAIS Divide ice core

August 20, 2010

It's midsummer in Denver, and the city has been baking under a heat wave for a couple of months. But in one small corner of the sprawling Denver Federal Center campus in the nearby suburb of Lakewood, about a dozen people are bundled up in thickly insulated Carhartt jumpsuits, wool caps, scarves and gloves. Full Story...

 

Core truths - WAIS Divide ice records past environmental changes with implications for the future

August 20, 2010

Twenty years ago, Kendrick Taylor and his colleagues first conceived of drilling for a deep ice core in the middle of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) while working to extract one in Greenland.

Ten years ago, he wrote the science plan for the WAIS Divide Ice Core project.

"And now we're halfway through the ice sheet 10 years later after finding the perfect spot to take an ice core, building a highly advanced drill, and constructing a camp to support the work," said Taylor, ruefully shaking his head, during an interview at the National Ice Core Laboratory (NICL) in the Denver Federal Center where processing sections of the ice core is under way. Full Story...

 

Registration is Now Open for the 2010 Science Meeting

July 7, 2010

Registration is now open for the 2010 WAIS Divide ice core project science meeting, which will be held on September 30 and October 1 at the Scripps Seaside Forum in La Jolla, California. The meeting will have activities for all of both days and the evening of the 30th. Everyone associated with the project is encouraged to attend (PIs, technicians, students, field support staff, drillers, NICL, and Artist and Writers program participants). More...

 

WAIS Divide on Front Page of Wall Street Journal

May 29, 2010

The WAIS Divide Ice Core Project is a front page story of the May 29, 2010 edition of the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). There is also an accompanying WSJ video.

Read article (opens up in new window): Mining for Cold, Hard Facts - Scientists Probe Antarctic Ice to Settle Climate Debates
View video: Unlocking Antarctica's Secrets

 

April 2010 Quarterly Update Now Available

April 15, 2010

The April 2010 Quarterly Update from the WAIS Divide Science Coordination Office is now available for download.

DOWNLOAD (.pdf)

 

Core of Drilling - UW-Madison Group Serves as a One-Stop Shop for Coring and Cutting Ice

February 15, 2010

Scientists who need to drill, core, or chip away at the thick, hard ice sheets in Antarctica usually don't have the necessary equipment sitting in a university basement somewhere.

Need an ice core in an area where you may drill through bits of sand and rock? Better use a Koci Drill. Doing a little seismic work requiring numerous holes? A portable hotwater drill is probably the way to go.

On the 12th floor of the Space Science and Engineering Center on the sprawling University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, the engineers with the Ice Drilling Design and Operations (IDDO) group can meet all those needs and more. Full Story...

 

2010 Science Meeting to be Held at Scripps Seaside Forum on Sep 30 - Oct 1

February 12, 2010

The 2010 WAIS Divide ice core project science meeting will be held on September 30 and October 1 at the Scripps Seaside Forum in La Jolla, California. The meeting will have activities for all of both days and the evening of the 30th. Everyone associated with the project is encouraged to attend (PIs, technicians, students, field support staff, drillers, NICL, and Artist and Writers program participants).

Read more...

 

WAIS Divide Employment Opportunity

February 9, 2010

The Science Coordination Office (SCO) is now accepting applications for Science Technician positions during the 2010/2011 Antarctic field season (~November 1 to ~ February 5). The Science Technicians will be responsible for logging and packing the ice core.

Read more...

 

Nature News Article Published About WAIS Divide

January 27, 2010

In January 2010, Nature news writer Chaz Firestone visited the WAIS Divide field camp. The following Nature News story was published online on 27 January 2010 (Nature 463, 408-409 (2010) | doi:10.1038/463408a)

Icy hunt for old air - Antarctic drilling project aims for a definitive record of climate

 

Latest News from WAIS Divide Field Camp

November 3, 2009

For the latest news from the WAIS Divide field camp, read the Project Updates.

Also, as we receive photos back from the field camp we'll post them in the Field Season 2009/2010 photo gallery.

 

WAIS Divide Camp Opens for 2009/10 Season

November 2, 2009

The put-in team, led by camp manager Theresa "T" Tran, arrived yesterday (November 2, local time) at WAIS Divide via Basler (5.5 hour direct flight from McM) after 10 days of weather delays. Onsite temperature was -49 degrees C. Skiway is in good shape and should be able to accept LC-130 Hercules flights within a couple of days after a good grooming and touchups are completed.

Good news is all cargo, modules, and equipment wintered well with minimal drifting allowing them to get the CAT 953 and one Tucker up and running in record time. Our experiment with wintering over the power poles and service cable worked fine, but the poles did create significant drifting that will need to be groomed down. The arch is as expected - still buried with some new winter drifting.

The overall schedule remains behind by 10 days at this point, however, once the carpenter crew arrives and camp construction gets started in the next several days, T will be able to better evaluate the schedule and any opportunities to get it back on track. For now, expect equal delays in any major activities scheduled for WAIS Divide until further notice. There is still a long way to go before any basic structures are up and running to accommodate additional persons.

Update provided by Matthew Kippenhan.

 

2009/2010 Media & Public Guide Now Available

August 15, 2009

The purpose of the Media and Public Guide is to provide a general overview of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide Ice Core project for both the media and the general public. The Media and Public Guide discusses why we are drilling at WAIS Divide, who is involved with the project (both the scientists and support organizations), and the funded science projects.

Download Media and Public Guide (pdf)

 

August 2009 Quarterly Update Now Available

August 4, 2009

The August 2009 Quarterly Update from the WAIS Divide Science Coordination Office is now available for download.

DOWNLOAD (.pdf)

 

2009 Science Meeting Registration Now Open

July 13, 2009

Registration is now open for the 2009 WAIS Divide Science Meeting to be held at Scripps Seaside Forum on October 1-2, 2009.

Read more ...

 

February 2009 Quarterly Update Now Available

February 4, 2009

The February 2009 Quarterly Update from the WAIS Divide Science Coordination Office is now available for download.

DOWNLOAD (.pdf)

 

Latest News from WAIS Divide Field Camp

November 4, 2008

For the latest news from the WAIS Divide field camp, read the Project Updates.

Also, as we receive photos back from the field camp we'll post them in the Field Season 2008/2009 photo gallery.

 

WAIS Divide Camp Opens for 2008/09 Season

November 3, 2008

WAIS Divide opened on Saturday, 11/01, via Basler at 2 pm. They refueled the Basler and were in the modules by 3 pm. They quickly turned on heat, got the generators going, and ran propane in the galley. Most things wintered well, although the vehicles were parked too close together and snow packed in between them. It took a lot of shoveling to free them of snow. Also, a vent cover blew off one of the perfection stove stacks and packed tight with snow. The arch has drifted a lot, but you can still see some metal on the smaller arch building. All of the heavy equipment is running, as well as four snow machines. One snow machine is not working well and they may need to return it to McMurdo. The rest of the snow machines have not been found yet. Hopefully, they are buried nicely someplace on the cargo berm. The Tucker has a broken spring and the mechanic will replace it soon. The McM and WSD fuelies are setting up the fuel system today. The heavy equipment operator started grooming the skiway today to prepare for a backup flight in two days. WAIS is a primary flight on both Thursday and Friday and five missions are proposed for next week. It has been sunny but windy each day, between -32 C and -35 C.

Update provide by Cara Ferrier

 

Connecting the Pieces - Antarctic Ice Core to Improve Greenhouse Gas Climate Record

October 31, 2008

It's been about 20 years since the National Science Foundation's Office of Polar Programs initiated a program to recover an ice core from the ice-covered island of Greenland.

The Greenland Ice Sheet Project Two (GISP2), which followed an earlier ice core drilling project with the Europeans in the 1970s and 1980s, recovered the longest core of ice at the time - 3,053.44 meters. Findings from the project showed abrupt changes in climate, extreme shifts in just a few years, among other revelations.

Now the U.S. Antarctic Program is in the midst of its most ambitious ice-coring project to date - the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide Ice Core (WAIS Divide) program, a multi-year project funded by the NSF to improve the paleoclimate record of the last 100,000 years.

The 3,500-meter-long WAIS core, when compared and added to GISP2 data and other global climate records, will provide a fuller picture of climate change, particularly during the last glaciation, a generally colder period of time that lasted about 60,000 years and ended about 10,000 years ago. Full Story...

 

Biological Pulse - WAIS Divide Project Searches for Life in the Ice

October 31, 2008

Outside of penguins and seals that congregate on the continent's coastal fringes, Antarctica appears to be a lifeless cube of ice, where only humans have the temerity to venture and survive for brief periods of time.

But John Priscu sees the ice sheets as home to a potentially rich community of microorganisms - life lived at the extreme. A professor at the Montana State University in Bozeman, Priscu heads up the biological component of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide Ice Core (WAIS Divide) program, a multi-year project to build the most detailed paleoclimate record from an ice core to date. Full Story...

 

Deep Into WAIS Divide - Project Continues Major Effort to Recover High-Resolution Climate Record of Last 100,000 Years

October 31, 2008

Antarctica isn't known for its stellar weather. The vast continent boasts relentless, scouring winds that blow from the plains to the coast and wintertime temperatures below minus 70 degrees Celsius.

Although largely a polar desert, some spots receive relatively heavy snowfall. If you're a scientist who wants to study the past 100,000 years of climate in unprecedented detail, you head to one of these areas of high accumulation, where an ice core drilled through the 3.5-kilometer-thick ice sheet will reveal fat layers of climatic history. Full Story...

 

Final Version - Replicate Coring and Borehole Logging Science and Implementation Plan

October 27, 2008

The final version of the Replicate Coring and Borehole Logging Science and Implementation Plan - as endorsed by the WAIS Divide Executive Committee on October 3, 2008 in Denver, CO - is now available.

 

Gas From the Past Gives Scientists New Insights into Climate and the Oceans :: NSF News Release

October 3, 2008

In recent years, public discussion of climate change has included concerns that increased levels of carbon dioxide will contribute to global warming, which in turn may change the circulation in the earth's oceans, with potentially disastrous consequences.

In a paper published today in the journal Science, researchers presented new data from their analysis of ice core samples and ocean deposits dating as far back as 90,000 years ago and suggest that warming, carbon dioxide levels and ocean currents are tightly inter-related. These findings provide scientists with more data and insights into how these phenomena were connected in the past and may lead to a better understanding of future climate trends.

Read Full Story (opens up in new window)

 

Draft WAIS Divide Basal Science and Implementation Plan Now Available for Community Comment

September 3, 2008

The draft WAIS Divide Basal Science and Implementation Plan is available for community input. On October 3 the Executive Committee will meet to discuss both the Basal Sampling and the Replicate Coring and Borehole Logging Science and Implementation Plans. Anyone who is interested can join this discussion. After the discussions, the Executive Committee will consider either requesting changes to the science and implementation plans, or endorsing them as they are currently written. After the plans are endorsed by the Executive Committee they will be considered to be representative of our communities interests and sent to NSF. Hopefully this will clear the way for the submission of proposals in June that are relevant to these plans.

If you want to contribute to this process it is important that you read both the plans before the meeting.

 

August 2008 Quarterly Update Now Available

August 27, 2008

The August 2008 Quarterly Update from the WAIS Divide Science Coordination Office is now available for download.

DOWNLOAD (.pdf)

 

Design Modifications for Recovering 4-Meter Ice Cores with the DISC Drill

August 11, 2008

Ice Coring and Drilling Services has released a white paper on design modifications they are evaluating for the purpose of increasing the lengths of core they can recover with the DISC drill to 4 meters.

Download the White Paper (opens in new window)

 

Draft Replicate Coring and Borehole Logging Science and Implementation Plan Now Available for Community Comment

July 10, 2008

The draft Replicate Coring and Borehole Logging Science and Implementation Plan is available for community input. All comments should be sent to Dr. Jeff Severinghaus (jseveringhaus "at" ucsd "dot" edu) by Sept. 30.

 

Video Now Available: Climate Change - A Report from Antarctica: WAIS Divide Ice Core

June 23, 2008

Dr. Kendrick Taylor of the Desert Research Institute is the Chief Scientist for the WAIS Divide Ice Core project. In this video, Kendrick takes you on a tour around the camp, discusses the process by which ice cores are drilled and extracted from the ice sheet, and explains the importance of ice cores in the overall understanding of Earth's climate history and current climate change.

WATCH VIDEO
 

Dear Colleague Letter - WAIS Divide Basal Sampling

June 13, 2008

Dear Colleagues, We would like to draw attention of the Antarctic geology, glaciology, geochemistry, and microbiology communities to the potential opportunity for coring subglacial materials at the WAIS Divide ice core site in January 2012 or later. Preliminary results of a seismic site survey performed by Dr. Anandakrishnan's research group (Penn State) in 2007 suggest ~10m thick sedimentary unit overlying ~140m thick high-velocity, high-density unit (potentially basalt?).

The existing sampling plan envisaged taking a 4m-long core of subglacial sediments. However, the drilling/sampling technology and the environmental permits for this are not finalized and are the subject of a "WAIS Divide Basal Science and Implementation Plan" due to be completed soon.

Read More (opens up in new window)

 

WAIS Divide Outreach web site

June 2, 2008

The WAIS Divide Outreach Program (WDOP) is an educational site dedicated to improving the understanding of ice coring and how it pertains to the study of climate change. Our site is made available to anyone who has an interest in learning how scientists go about unraveling the climate history of the Earth, however, our focus is mainly on K-12 teachers and students. The WDOP is operated by the Wright Center for Science Education at Tufts University.

 

March 2008 Quarterly Update Now Available

March 20, 2008

The March 2008 Quarterly Update from the WAIS Divide Science Coordination Office is now available for download.

DOWNLOAD (.pdf)

 

Press Release: New Antarctic Ice Core to Provide Clearest Climate Record Yet

January 22, 2008

After enduring months on the coldest, driest and windiest continent on Earth, researchers today closed out the inaugural season on an unprecedented, multi-year effort to retrieve the most detailed record of greenhouse gases in Earth's atmosphere over the last 100,000 years.

Working as part of the National Science Foundation's West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide (WAIS Divide) Ice Core Project, a team of scientists, engineers, technicians and students from multiple U.S. institutions have recovered a 580-meter (1,900-foot) ice core--the first section of what is hoped to be a 3,465-meter (11,360-foot) column of ice detailing 100,000 years of Earth's climate history, including a precise year-by-year record of the last 40,000 years.

Read Full Story (opens up in new window)

 

December 2007 Quarterly Update Now Available

December 19, 2007

The December 2007 Quarterly Update from the WAIS Divide Science Coordination Office is now available for download.

DOWNLOAD (.pdf)

 

Media + Public Guide Now Available

November 5, 2007

The purpose of the Media and Public Guide is to provide a general overview of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide Ice Core project for both the media and the general public. The Media and Public Guide discusses why we are drilling at WAIS Divide, who is involved with the project (both the scientists and support organizations), and the funded science projects.

Download Media and Public Guide (pdf)

 

Six Person Put-In Crew Safely Arrived at WAIS Divide

October 29, 2007

We are very happy to report that on 24-October six camp staff safely arrived to WAIS Divide via a Basler airplane and started the long process of digging the camp out. This was the first winter-over with all of the field camp stored outside on cargo lines, rather than stored inside the arch facility as during the 2006 winter. It is expected to take several weeks to get the camp up and running to the point where it can support larger populations. Once email and internet capabilities are established at camp we hope to receive some pictures from the put-in flight and will post them in the photo gallery.

 

August 2007 Quarterly Update Now Available

August 29, 2007

The August 2007 Quarterly Update from the WAIS Divide Science Coordination Office is now available for download.

DOWNLOAD (.pdf)

 

March 2007 Quarterly Update Now Available

March 1, 2007

The March 2007 Quarterly Update from the WAIS Divide Science Coordination Office is now available for download.

DOWNLOAD (.pdf)

 

2006-2007 Field Season at WAIS Divide Has Come To A Close

February 10, 2007

The second field season for the WAIS Divide Ice Core project ended on February 7, 2007. This season's science activities included collecting a 130 meter long ice core outside of the arch facility, collecting a 114 meter long ice core from the pilot hole for the main deep ice core, installation of the casing for the main borehole, installation of the gantry crane that will be used to set up the Deep Ice Sheet Coring (DISC) Drill next season, optical borehole logging in shallow boreholes around WAIS Divide, snowpit chemistry work, and the second phase of construction on the arch interior. More information about this past season's science activities can be found at: http://www.waisdivide.unh.edu/fieldreports/index.shtml

Visit the photo gallery from the 2006/2007 field season for a visual review of this season's activities at WAIS Divide.

 

Drilling of the WAIS Divide Deep Ice Core Has Started!

December 9, 2006

Joe Souney (UNH, WAIS Divide SCO) reports that on Saturday, December 9 at 13:45 the first section of ice core was recovered from the main WAIS Divide borehole. This project has been in the planning phase for more than 15 years and it's great news to hear that the deep ice core has begun. Congratulations and thanks to all those who have helped over the years!

 

October 2006 Quarterly Update Now Available

October 30, 2006

The October 2006 Quarterly Update from the WAIS Divide Science Coordination Office is now available for download.

DOWNLOAD (.pdf)

 

Camp Staff Safely Made it into WAIS Divide

October 30, 2006

The camp staff safely made it into WAIS Divide a couple of days ago and so the 2006-2007 field season is underway! Current temperatures at WAIS Divide are -46 degrees F. The large berm that the camp modules and equipment were staged on filled in heavily but held their ground. The galley, washroom, and mechanic's shop all wintered well (drifted) and were dry inside. The arch facility wintered well. It took one full day to access the end walls via shovels. The outside wall (away from the camp) was drifted in heavily. Snow is reaching near the top of the small arch and 1/2-way up the tall arch as expected but not desired after the first winter.

 

DISC Drill Test Season at Summit Greenland A Success

September 1, 2006

The DISC Drill test season at Summit Greenland (April-August 2006) was a huge success. The operation and performance of the drill in both ductile and brittle ice was extensively tested and evaluated to optimize core quality. Other than not being able to drill a full four-meter core in one run, all testing goals were fullfilled and in many cases exceeded. Core quality and the drill's ability to drill brittle ice were excellent from the start. There were minor problems and challenges, but for a completely new drill system that had never been fully assembled and operated as a system the season went extremely well.

Visit the Greenland Drill Test photo gallery.

 

2005/2006 Field Season Ends

February 3, 2006

The 2005-2006 WAIS Divide field season ended on Friday, February 3 after completely winterizing the camp facilities and equipment. This was a great first season at WAIS Divide. The initial put-in was three weeks behind schedule due to weather and issues related to landing the LC-130s at a new location. However, thanks to excellent support by RPSC, all the objectives for the season were met. Information about the season's science activities can be found at: http://www.waisdivide.unh.edu/fieldreports/index.html

Visit the 2005/2006 Field Season photo gallery.

 

2005/2006 Field Season Begins!

November 10, 2005

After a 20-day delay due to poor weather and issues associated with LC-130 landings at the new site, the 2005-2006 field season at WAIS Divide is now underway. The field camp is being setup, the skiway is marked and groomed, and up to 4 flights a day are being scheduled. If the weather holds so we can get the flights in, we will end the season back on track.