Ice Core-Drilling in the Southern Alps

New Zealand 2009

Ice Core Drilling in the Southern Alps

Daniel Dixon

The mid-latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere have proven particularly challenging for ice core retrieval and interpretation.  Glaciers in southern South America and the Southern Alps experience extraordinarily high rates of snow fall and melt which compromises the length and integrity of records from these areas.  Improving technology in drilling, dating and analyzing ice are making retrieval of these records feasible.  GNS Science and Victoria University of Wellington are attempting to retrieve the best possible ice cores from the South Alps.  Over the next two years, scientists will be working in some high and inaccessible parts of the Aoraki/Mt. Cook National Park, investigating several sites and then drilling ice cores from the most promising locations (Ice Core Drilling in the Southern Alps, 2009-2011).

The Southern Alps ice core project is lead by Uwe Morgenstern, GNS Science, in collaboration with Paul Mayewski, Climate Change Institute, University of Maine and Shichang Kang, Institute of Tibetan Plateau.  The drilling is managed by Julian Thomson, GNS Science.

The 2009 team also includes Daniel Dixon from CCI as well as Yulan Zhang and Xinsheng Gao from TPI.  Site selection is being carried out by Brian Anderson, Andrew Mackintosh and Lawrence Kees at Victoria University of Wellington.