National Academies Press: OpenBook

Recommendations for a U.S. Ice Coring Program (1986)

Chapter: Front Matter

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1986. Recommendations for a U.S. Ice Coring Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18404.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1986. Recommendations for a U.S. Ice Coring Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18404.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1986. Recommendations for a U.S. Ice Coring Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18404.
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Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1986. Recommendations for a U.S. Ice Coring Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18404.
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Recommendations for a U.S. Ice Coring Program ad hoc Panel on Polar Ice Coring Committee on Glaciology Polar Research Board Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics and Resources National Research Council (I/I , S.}. , PROPERTY OF NAS - NAE JAN 051587 NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS LIBRARY Washington, D.C. UrOi tfof November 1986 National Technical Information Service, Sr/ingfieSd. Va. Order No.

2*401 ,W37 I 4 IV Notice: The project that is the subject of this report / / a(e was approved by the Governing Board of the National C. I Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was established by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and of advising the federal government. The Council operates in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy under the authority of its congressional charter of 1863, which established the Academy as a private, nonprofit, self-governing membership corporation. The Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in the conduct of their services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. It is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. The National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine were established in 1964 and 1970, respectively, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences. Copies are available in limited quantity from POLAR RESEARCH BOARD 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20418 Printed in the United States of America

Ad Hoc Panel on Polar Ice Coring Johannes Weertman, Northwestern University, chairman Harmon Craig, Scripps Institution of Oceanography John Imbrie, Brown University John Kutzbach, University of Wisconsin Stephen Schneider, National Center for Atmospheric Research Minzie Stuiver, University of Washington Ex Officio Charles F. Raymond, University of Washington, chairman, Committee on Glaciology Sherburne B. Abbott, Program Officer 111

Committee on Glaciology Charles F. Raymond, University of Washington, chairman Robert L. Brown, Montana State University Jeff Dozier, University of California, Santa Barbara William D. Hibler, U.S. Army Cold Regions Research & Engineering Laboratory John Kreider, Arctec, Inc. Ellen Stone Mosley-Thompson, Ohio State University Thomas Osterkamp, University of Alaska Richard C.J. Somerville, University of California, San Diego Robert H. Thomas, Royal Aircraft Establishment, United Kingdom Ex Officio Garry K.C. Clarke, University of British Columbia Staff Bruce F. Molnia, Senior Program Officer iv

Polar Research Board Gunter E. Weller, University of Alaska, chairman Knut Aagaard, University of Washington Mim Harris Dixon, Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities David Elliot, Ohio State University Ronald Geer, Shell Oil Company Ben C. Gerwick, Jr., Consulting Construction Engineer Dennis Hayes, Columbia University Arthur H. Lachenbruch, U.S. Geological Survey Louis J. Lanzerotti, Bell Telephone Laboratories Geoffrey F. Larminie, British Petroleum Co. Ltd. John H. Steele, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Ian Stirling, Canadian Wildlife Service Cornelius W. Sullivan, University of Southern California Patrick J. Webber, University of Colorado Ray F. Weiss, University of California, San Diego Ex Officio Charles R. Bentley, University of Wisconsin, Madison Oscar J. Ferrians, Jr., U.S. Geological Survey Charles F. Raymond, University of Washington James H. Zumberge, University of Southern California Staff W. Timothy Hushen, Staff Director Bruce F. Molnia, Senior Program Officer Sherburne B. Abbott, Program Officer Mildred L. McGuire, Administrative Secretary

Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics and Resources Norman Hackerman, Robert A. Welch Foundation, chairman Clarence R. Allen, California Institute of Technology Thomas D. Barrow, Standard Oil Company, Ohio (retired) Elkan R. Blout, Harvard Medical School George F. Carrier, Harvard University Dean E. Eastman, IBM Corporation Joseph L. Fisher, George Mason University William A. Fowler, California Institute of Technology Gerhart Friedlander, Brookhaven National Laboratory Mary L. Good, Allied Signal Corporation Phillip A. Griffiths, Duke University J. Ross Macdonald, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Charles J. Mankin, Oklahoma Geological Survey Perry L. McCarty, Stanford University William D. Phillips, Mallinckrodt, Inc. Richard J. Reed, University of Washington Robert E. Sievers, University of Colorado Edward C. Stone, Jr., California Institute of Technology Karl K. Turekian, Yale University George W. Wetherill, Carnegie Institution of Washington Irving Wladawsky-Berger, IBM Corporation Raphael G. Kasper, Executive Director Lawrence E. McCray, Associate Executive Director VI

Preface This report presents recommendations from the ad hoc Panel on Polar Ice Coring. The panel was formed under the Polar Research Board's Committee on Glaciology to (1) assess the U.S. scientific capabilities in ice core drilling and core analysis from a national and international perspective; (2) recommend an appropriate balance between capabilities in shallow, intermediate, and deep drilling, based on the most compelling scientific opportunities and realistic assessments of technological problems and available resources; (3) recommend ice core analysis techniques that could advantageously be developed in the United States; (4) recommend an action plan for achieving the desired ice core drilling and ice core analysis capabilities; and (5) set guidelines for the development of policies for international agreements requisite for cooperative ice core programs, drill site selection, and science plan development. The high scientific importance of ice core drilling and ice core analysis has been emphasized in previous National Research Council reports. The Polar Research Board report Snow and Ice Research: An Assessment (National Research Council, 1983a) listed the following as highest priority in the field of Quaternary glaciology: a long-term program of ice core drilling in central Greenland for acquisition of long-term environmental and climatic records; a continuous ice core to bedrock at a site in Antarctica to determine the presence or absence of the West Antarctic ice sheet during past interglacials and to provide paleoclimatic data; the comparison of climatic and environmental information contained in ice cores with local or regional meteorological information and historical records of vii

of climatic and environmental changes; and the development of analytical methods to extract information from ice cores related to global anthropogenic pollution, climatic and environmental history, absolute age, and the past configuration and motion of Hie ice sheet. The Polar Research Board report Research Emphases for the U.S. Antarctic Program (National Research Council, 1983b) juxtaposes polar ice coring against other research areas and recommends that highest priority be given to the extraction of the unique climatic record preserved in the Antarctic ice sheet; a priority reaffirmed in the recent Polar Research Board assessment of U.S. Research in Antarctica in 2000 A.D. and Bevond (National Research Council, 1986a). Similarly. National Issues and Research Priorities in the Arctic (National Research Council, 1985a) identifies ice coring as the first glaciological priority. Ice coring is identified as an important element in the report Global Change in the Geosphere-Biosphere: Initial Priorities for an IGBP (National Research Council, 1986b). This report reaffirms these scientific priorities and makes specific recommendations for achieving a strengthened U.S. ice core drilling program. It assesses our current capabilities to drill and analyze ice cores, and attempts to outline elements of a plan that has the potential to strengthen significantly our ability to conduct scientifically exciting, resource-efficient ice core drilling and analysis. Johannes Weertman Chairman ad hoc Panel on Polar Ice Coring August, 1986 viii

Contents 1 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 1 Scientific Program and Goals 1 Management Elements 3 Scientific Planning and Technical Elements 5 Recommendations for Implementation 7 Action Plan 8 2 SCIENTIFIC MOTIVATION FOR ICE CORING 9 3 STATE OF CURRENT EFFORT 14 Organization 14 Ice Core Drilling 15 Ice Core Analysis Techniques 17 Ice Core Storage 19 Logistics 20 4 ELEMENTS OF AN ICE CORING PROGRAM IN THE UNITED STATES 21 Outline of Requirements 21 Ice Coring Capabilities 22 Ice Analysis Techniques 23 Supporting Measurements and Modeling 24 Ice Core Storage 25 Scientific Interfaces and Planning 26 Management Guidelines 27 International Cooperation 29

5 RECOMMENDATIONS FOR AN ICE CORING AND ANALYSIS PROGRAM (ICAP) 30 Scope of the Scientific Program 30 Recommendations for Implementation 31 6. ACTION PLAN 34 REFERENCES 36 APPENDIXES 45 A CRREL Activity in Deep Drilling 47 B Ice Core Drilling 52 C Laboratory Analysis of Ice Cores 60 D Status of Ice Core Storage Facility at State University of New York, Buffalo 62 E Motivation for CO Research 68

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Ice and climate are inextricable linked. The major climate variations of the past "ice ages" are characterized by vast advances of ice over the land and sea. Glaciers and ice sheets affect our current climate. In the future, human modification climate, either purposeful or inadvertent, may cause major changes in the global ice volume and sea level. In addition to its active role in the climate system, ice also contains unique information about past climates. A clear reconstruction of climate history is an essential step toward understanding climate processes and testing theories that can predict future climate changes.

Polar ice sheets and some ice caps contain ice layered in an undisturbed, year-by-year sequence. The isotopic composition of the ice, the enclosed air, and trace constituents including particles and dissolved impurities provide information about the composition, temperature, and circulation of the atmosphere. In turn these may provide information about other conditions that affects the atmosphere. The recent ice layers contain a record of anthropogenic pollutants such as carbon dioxide, other greenhouse gases, and heavy metals. Ice cores retrieved from depths down to 2000 m in the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have revealed variations in these climatic indicators over the last 150,000 years.

Recommendations for a U.S. Ice Coring Program endorses these scientific priorities and strongly recommends that the United States:

  • Initiate a program of ice coring and analysis over a period of at least 10 years;
  • Obtain high resolution climatic time series, with wide geographical coverage over the last several thousand years by analyses of cores from various depths at many locations in both polar regions and nonpolar regions; and
  • Obtain long-period climatic time series of several hundred thousand years from both Polar Regions.

This report examines the current status of ice core research in the United States and recommends specific steps to implement an ice coring and analysis program.

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