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Antarctica, discovering the climate of 1.5 million years ago

2021-12-02T09:13:14.319Z

Through the sampling and analysis of deep ice it will try to go back in time by 1.5 million years to discover the temperatures and concentration of greenhouse gases of the past (ANSA)



The first coring campaign of the international research project 'Beyond Epica Oldest Ice' begins in Antarctica, which through the sampling and analysis of deep ice will try to go back in time by 1.5 million years to discover temperatures and concentration of past greenhouse gases: an unprecedented work for paleoclimatology, which will allow to obtain valuable data to outline future climate trends and to implement mitigation measures. The project, funded by the European Commission with 11 million euros, is coordinated by Carlo Barbante, director of the Institute of Polar Sciences of the National Research Council (Cnr-Isp) and professor at the Ca 'Foscari University of Venice.

Twelve partner research centers from ten European and non-European countries. For Italy, in addition to the CNR and the Ca 'Foscari University, the National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (Enea) is in charge together with the French Polar Institute of the work module relating to logistics.

“With the previous Epica project (European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica), completed in 2008, we were able to analyze an 800,000-year-old ice core,” says Barbante. “Now, as in a time machine, we push ourselves to explore further”. The goal is to find "information on the past climate and greenhouse gases present during the Middle Pleistocene transition that took place between 900,000 and 1.2 million years ago. During this transition, the climatic periodicity between ice ages has increased from 41,000 to 100,000 years ; why this happened is the mystery we intend to solve ".

The campaign, which will last until January 2022, will take place in Little Dome C, an area 40 kilometers from the Italian-French base of Concordia on the eastern Antarctic plateau.

Glaciologists, engineers and technicians from the international team will work at an altitude of 3233 meters above sea level, over a thousand kilometers from the coast and at a temperature that during the Antarctic summer will average -35 ° C.

Once the drilling field is fully operational, the core drilling system will be completed and tested, while the project team will excavate the deposit to house the first ice samples in the snow.

The success of this campaign will be crucial to the success of the entire project.

Source: ansa

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