Another success for SSEC’s ice drillers

April 29, 2015 | Sarah Witman

The Ice Drilling Design and Operations (IDDO) group at UW-Madison’s Space Science and Engineering Center has provided the ice coring drill and ice core recovery services to support a new study that reveals a consistent link between past abrupt temperature changes in the Arctic and Antarctic.

Reaching a final and U.S. record depth of 3,405 meters in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, drilling of the main core began during the 2006-2007 field season and was completed during the 2011-2012 field season.

IDDO Program Director Kristina Slawny explains that the high ice accumulation site was carefully selected to capture the highest resolution record of Antarctic climate. The IDDO-designed U.S. Deep Ice Sheet Coring (DISC) drill was used to extract the pristine core.

Oregon State University’s Christo Buizert, lead author on the study published this week in Nature, says that analysis of the ice core from West Antarctica helps explain the interactions of climate changes in the northern and southern hemispheres – showing how past climate changes that started in the Arctic propagated all the way to Antarctica.

This is just one in a line of successes demonstrating the experience of the IDDO team – as recently as last fall, their ice coring expertise supported another climate study published in Nature.

The following slideshow comprises photos of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide ice core project compiled by the U.S. Ice Drilling Program.

Slideshow | 20 slides IDDO at the West Antarctic Ice Sheet