Bedrock breakthrough in Antarctica

January 7, 2013, Victoria University
Dr Bertler with German scientist Dr Sepp Kipfstuhl, measuring the electrical conductivity of an ice core.

(—A team of scientists from nine nations, led by Victoria University's Dr Nancy Bertler, have made a huge breakthrough in Antarctica—successfully drilling more than 760m through the ice to the bedrock, on an island in the Ross Sea.

The international project has been headed up by GNS Science, Victoria University and Antarctica New Zealand.

Dr Bertler, of Victoria University's Antarctic Research Centre and GNS Science, has led the team to drill the 763m long from an ice cap on in Antarctica. They completed the drilling in late December when the drill bit brought sediment up from the base of the ice sheet.

"The will provide the most detailed record of the of the Ross Sea region for the last 30,000 years—the time during which the coastal margin of the retreated following the last great ice age," says Dr Bertler, by from the camp on Roosevelt Island.

"I am thrilled with the team's success, which has been many years in the planning—and has involved four summers of field work doing drill site surveys, setting up the drill system and camp, as well as the drilling itself."

Analyses of the ice core, to be undertaken at the purpose-built National Ice Core Research Facility at GNS Science in 2013, will provide important new insights into how the Ross Sea region will respond to global warming, and the sediments from the base of the ice sheet might reveal what the region was like the last time Earth's climate was as warm as it is today.

The drill trench tent.

Director of the Antarctic Research Centre, Professor Tim Naish, received the news by satellite phone. "The team are obviously delighted—I am extremely proud of them for successfully obtaining one of most important climate archives from Antarctica to date."

The ice itself was constructed by Antarctica Research Centre technologists Alex Pyne and Darcy Mandeno, working with Nelson engineering firm Pro-machining. The pair have more than 30 years experience in scientific drilling of sediments and ice in Antarctica.

The logistical support for the Roosevelt Island Ice Coring Expedition (RICE) has been provided by Antarctica New Zealand, costing more than $1 million per year.

Antarctica New Zealand Chief Executive Lou Sanson says that the support of such a major field operation nearly 1,000kms from New Zealand's Scott Base has been challenging and complex.

"This is a marquee project for Antarctica New Zealand, and we are very proud of the success of Nancy Bertler and her team."

The ice cores will be transported back to McMurdo station by air, and then by cargo ship to New Zealand in March.

A 50-strong science team from New Zealand, Australia, Denmark, Germany, Italy, China, Sweden, USA and the United Kingdom will meet in at the GNS Science ice core facility in Lower Hutt to sample the cores in May.

The team will remain at the Roosevelt Island Camp for another four weeks, as they pack up and move equipment back to Scott Base ready for their return to New Zealand.

"We are in high spirits, and can't wait to get started on analysing the more than 100,000 samples that will be taken from the cores," says Bertler.

Explore further: Scientists say Antarctic climate evidence too strong to ignore

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1.4 / 5 (11) Jan 07, 2013
"will provide important new insights into how the Ross Sea region will respond to global warming"

Obviously, this study was biased from the very beginning.

What this bunch has reported up to this point, and any information they publish in the future, is unreliable and therefore worthless from a scientific point of view.

All-in-all, a tremendous waste of time and money, not to mention another setback for science in general.
3.7 / 5 (9) Jan 07, 2013
Obviously, this study was biased from the very beginning.

How so? The fact that global warming is real has long been settled (only a few fundamentalist nuts without any pretensions to being able to know anything about science argue otherwise. But that really doesn't matter)
That you and your kin will not want to see the data isn't anyone's concern. At some point there's just no more arguing with some people.
Their evolutionary deadweight will just be left by the side of the road. (or more likly they will benefit from the efforts of those stemming the tide of global warming)

But that's the way a society works. It can take the deadweight parasites refusing to contribute and riding the shirttails of those who do (for a while) - unless they grow too many and kill the host, that is.

(The bizarre thing is that it's the paraiste/capitalist extremists that want to profit from this 'socialist' effort by not putting in their fair share. Oh well. Business as usual I suppose.)
1.4 / 5 (9) Jan 07, 2013
How so? The fact that global warming is real has long been settled[q/]

Apparently it is not settled, otherwise you would not have written a five paragraph reply.
1 / 5 (4) Jan 07, 2013
Climate Change is a far more logical and wise choice of words for what is going on. I suppose the mini-ice age events taking place are left out of the global warming campaign, conveniently. I'm amazed we've made it this far with the childish egos that seem to plague the OCD Mainstream Science groups.

I have higher expectations from backyard/garage mechanics and fringe or "alternative" physicists and Scientists than I do for anything "Mainstream". It's much like the bully vs. the geek. The geek gets it right and moves forward, while the bully insists on maintaining their own ignorance, simply because it "hurts" too much to see things any other way, especially coming from someone who may not have "done their time" being "educated" by the powers that be.

5 / 5 (1) Jan 07, 2013
"will provide important new insights into how the Ross Sea region will respond to global warming"

I'm sure they could also have commented more generally and said this will provide important new insights into a variety of things we wonder about. And I'm sure that it will be so.

They simply made their comment a bit more relevant by mentioning a current topic of common consensus that has most of us concerned. This research was by no means an "agenda driven" effort to be dismissed as invalid due to a remark that we may learn something about our current warming.
1 / 5 (3) Jan 07, 2013
The climate changes.

Think it's warm now? How warm was it, and for how long, for vineyards to exist for perhaps 1500 years in Scotland (Commented on by both Romans 50BCE and by King John ~1200 CE)?

There's been no Scottish wine since the 1350s. It is too cold still.

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