Collaborative Research: Replicate Coring at WAIS Divide to Obtain Additional Samples at Events of High Scientific Interest
This award supports a project to obtain samples of ice in selected intervals for replication and verification of the validity and spatial representativeness of key results in the WAIS Divide ice core, and to obtain additional ice samples in areas of intense scientific interest where demand is high. The US Ice Core Working Group recommended in 2003 that NSF pursue the means to take replicate samples, termed "replicate coring". This recommendation was part of an agreement to reduce the diameter of the (then) new drilling system (the DISC drill) core to 12.2 cm to lighten logistics burdens, and the science community accepted the reduction in ice sample with the understanding that replicate coring would be able to provide extra sample volume in key intervals. The WAIS Divide effort would particularly benefit from replicate coring, because of the unique quality of the expected gas record and the large samples needed for gases and gas isotopes; thus this proposal to employ replicate coring at WAIS Divide. In addition, scientific demand for ice samples has been, and will continue to be, very unevenly distributed, with the ice core archive being completely depleted in depth intervals of high scientific interest (abrupt climate changes, volcanic sulfate horizons, meteor impact horizons, for example). The broader impacts of the proposed research may include identification of leads and lags between Greenland, tropical, and Antarctic climate change, enabling critical tests of hypotheses for the mechanism of abrupt climate change. Improved understanding of volcanic impacts on atmospheric chemistry and climate may also emerge. This understanding may ultimately help improve climate models and prediction of the Earth System feedback response to ongoing human perturbation in coming centuries. Outreach and public education about climate change are integral components of the PIs' activities and the proposed work will enhance these efforts. Broader impacts also include education and training of 2 postdoctoral scholars and 1 graduate student, and invaluable field experience for the graduate and undergraduate students who will likely make up the core processing team at WAIS Divide.
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