Project Information
Investigation of Climate, Ice Dynamics and Biology using a Deep Ice Core from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Ice Divide
WAIS Divide Ice Core
This award supports the coordination of an interdisciplinary and multi institutional deep ice coring program in West Antarctica. The program will develop interrelated climate, ice dynamics, and biologic records focused on understanding interactions of global earth systems. The records will have a year-by-year chronology for the most recent 40,000 years. Lower temporal resolution records will extend to 100,000 years before present. The intellectual activity of this project includes enhancing our understanding of the natural mechanisms that cause climate change. The study site was selected to obtain the best possible material, available from anywhere, to determine the role of greenhouse gas in the last series of major climate changes. The project will study the how natural changes in greenhouse gas concentrations influence climate. The influence of sea ice and atmospheric circulation on climate changes will also be investigated. Other topics that will be investigated include the influence of the West Antarctic ice sheet on changes in sea level and the biology deep in the ice sheet. The broader impacts of this project include developing information required by other science communities to improve predictions of future climate change. The
project will use mass media to explain climate, glaciology, and biology issues to a broad audience. The next generation of ice core investigators will be trained and there will be an emphasis on exposing a diverse group of students to climate, glaciology and biology research.
Person Role
McGwire, Kenneth C. Investigator
Antarctic Glaciology Award # 0440817
AMD - DIF Record(s)
Data Management Plan
None in the Database
Repository Title (link) Status
USAP-DC WAIS Divide Ice Core Images, Antarctica exist
  1. Sigl, M., Fudge, T. J., Winstrup, M., Cole-Dai, J., Ferris, D., McConnell, J. R., … Sowers, T. A. (2015). The WAIS Divide deep ice core WD2014 chronology – Part 2: Annual-layer counting (0–31 ka BP). Climate of the Past Discussions, 11(4), 3425–3474. (doi:10.5194/cpd-11-3425-2015)
  2. Lee, M. J., Kyle, P. R., Iverson, N. A., Lee, J. I., & Han, Y. (2019). Rittmann volcano, Antarctica as the source of a widespread 1252 ± 2 CE tephra layer in Antarctica ice. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 521, 169–176. (doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2019.06.002)
  3. McConnell, J. R., Burke, A., Dunbar, N. W., Köhler, P., Thomas, J. L., Arienzo, M. M., … Winckler, G. (2017). Synchronous volcanic eruptions and abrupt climate change ∼17.7 ka plausibly linked by stratospheric ozone depletion. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114(38), 10035–10040. (doi:10.1073/pnas.1705595114)
  4. Koutnik, M. R., Fudge, T. J., Conway, H., Waddington, E. D., Neumann, T. A., Cuffey, K. M., … Taylor, K. C. (2016). Holocene accumulation and ice flow near the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide ice core site. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, 121(5), 907–924. (doi:10.1002/2015jf003668)
  5. Fudge, T. J., Taylor, K. C., Waddington, E. D., Fitzpatrick, J. J., & Conway, H. (2016). Electrical stratigraphy of the WAIS Divide ice core: Identification of centimeter-scale irregular layering. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, 121(7), 1218–1229. (doi:10.1002/2016jf003845)
  6. Jones, T. R., Cuffey, K. M., White, J. W. C., Steig, E. J., Buizert, C., Markle, B. R., … Sigl, M. (2017). Water isotope diffusion in the WAIS Divide ice core during the Holocene and last glacial. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, 122(1), 290–309. (doi:10.1002/2016jf003938)
  7. Rhodes, R. H., Brook, E. J., McConnell, J. R., Blunier, T., Sime, L. C., Faïn, X., & Mulvaney, R. (2017). Atmospheric methane variability: Centennial-scale signals in the Last Glacial Period. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 31(3), 575–590. (doi:10.1002/2016gb005570)
  8. Buizert, C., Cuffey, K. M., Severinghaus, J. P., Baggenstos, D., Fudge, T. J., Steig, E. J., … Taylor, K. C. (2014). The WAIS-Divide deep ice core WD2014 chronology – Part 2: Methane synchronization (68–31 ka BP) and the gas age-ice age difference. Climate of the Past Discussions, 10(4), 3537–3584. (doi:10.5194/cpd-10-3537-2014)
  9. Orsi, A. J., Cornuelle, B. D., & Severinghaus, J. P. (2012). Little Ice Age cold interval in West Antarctica: Evidence from borehole temperature at the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide. Geophysical Research Letters, 39(9), n/a–n/a. (doi:10.1029/2012gl051260)
  10. Garland, J., Jones, T. R., Neuder, M., White, J. W., & Bradley, E. (2019). An information-theoretic approach to extracting climate signals from deep polar ice cores. Chaos: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Nonlinear Science, 29(10), 101105. (doi:10.1063/1.5127211)
  11. Sigl M, Fudge TJ, Winstrup M, Cole-Dai J, Ferris D, McConnell JR, Taylor KC, Welten KC, Woodruff TE, Adolphi F, Bisiaux M, Brook EJ, Buizert C, Caffee MW, Dunbar NW, Edwards R, Geng L, Iverson N, Koffman B, Layman L, Maselli OJ, McGwire K, Muscheler R, Nishiizumi K, Pasteris DR, Rhodes RH, Sowers TA. 2016. The WAIS Divide deep ice core WD2014 chronology -Part 2: Annual-layer counting (0.31 ka BP). Climate of the Past, 12, p. 769-786. doi: 10.5194/cp-12-769-2016. (doi:10.5194/cp-12-769-2016)
  12. Buizert, C., K.M. Cuffey, J.P. Severinghaus, D. Baggenstos, T.J. Fudge, E.J. Steig, T.A. Sowers, E.J. Brook, R.H. Rhodes, H. Cheng, L.R. Edwards, M. Sigl, J.R. McConnell, and K.C. Taylor (2015). The WAIS Divide deep ice core WD2014 chronology - Part 1: Methane synchronization (68-31 ka BP) and the gas age-ice age difference, Clim. Past, 11, 153-173, doi:10.5194/cp-11-153-2015. (doi:10.5194/cp-11-153-2015)
  13. Cole-Dai, J., D.G. Ferris, A.L. Lanciki, J. Savarino, and J.R. McConnell (2013) Two climate-impacting volcanic eruptions in the 1450s C.E. found in a bipolar, sub-annually dated 800-year ice core record, J. Geophys. Res., 118, 7459-7466. (doi:10.1002/jgrd.50587)
  14. Cole‐Dai, J., Ferris, D. G., Kennedy, J. A., Sigl, M., McConnell, J. R., Fudge, T. J., … Souney, J. M. (2021). Comprehensive Record of Volcanic Eruptions in the Holocene (11,000 years) From the WAIS Divide, Antarctica Ice Core. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 126(7). (doi:10.1029/2020jd032855)
  15. Sigl, M., McConnell, J. R., Layman, L., Maselli, O., McGwire, K., Pasteris, D., … Kipfstuhl, S. (2013). A new bipolar ice core record of volcanism from WAIS Divide and NEEM and implications for climate forcing of the last 2000 years. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 118(3), 1151–1169. (doi:10.1029/2012jd018603)