Empowering Educators at the School of Ice

The Antarctic Sun

July 15, 2015

By Mike Lucibella

US Ice Drilling Program Office Offers Educators a Close-Up Look at Ice Core Science

Ice Core Freezer
Rows of insulated tubes store ice cores dating back hundreds of thousands of years at the National Ice Core Laboratory’s freezer archive. (Photo Credit: Mike Lucibella)

To the casual observer, mid-June may not seem like the ideal time to explore the science of ancient ice. However, last month, as the hot sun beat down outside, a dozen geoscience professors donned boots and thick red parkas to brave sub-zero freezers and learn the secrets embedded in ice many thousands of years old, from the coldest places on Earth.

Mary Albert
Prof Mary Albert is Executive Director, US Ice Drilling Program Office

The US Ice Drilling Program Office (IDPO), funded by the National Science Foundation, brought a dozen college professors to the Denver area for an up-close look at the important role that ice cores play in paleo-climate science. Dubbed “The School of Ice,” the inaugural four-day workshop infused the most up-to-date ice science into the course materials for the American Meteorological Society’s (AMS) Climate Studies Course. Climate scientists shared how the chemical composition of tiny air bubbles and other indicators trapped in ancient ice helps them model future climate changes.

"It's really important that we get that science out to people like these professors," said Linda Morris, the director of education and public outreach for the U.S. Ice Drilling Program based at Dartmouth. "Ice cores are a pristine archive of really valuable data."

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