DEEPICE network launches collaboration | Polarjournal
The new DEEPICE network is designed to train young scientists in ice core-related climate science and to best prepare for the drilling of the Beyond EPICA ice core. Photo: British Antarctic Survey

A unique European collaboration of a network of international young scientists in the field of ice core-related climate research starts today. The new research and training network “DEEPICE” aims to provide high-level training to the next generation of researchers, who will be equipped with a solid background knowledge of climate reconstruction from deep ice cores. The 15 new PhD students will start their work after the kick-off meeting, which will take place today and tomorrow in France.

Researchers are reconstructing past climate changes in Antarctica using ice cores obtained on the Antarctic continent. As part of the EPICA project (European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica), scientists from ten European countries drilled the oldest ice core to date at Dome C in Wilkesland, East Antarctica, in December 2004, providing a window into 800,000 years of the past. In the coming years, a large European team will drill nearby, at Little Dome C, for ice up to 1.5 million years old.

To best prepare for drilling for and analyzing the oldest ice as part of the Beyond EPICA Oldest Ice project, the 15 PhD students will develop the latest instrumental techniques, state-of-the-art statistical methods for signal reconstruction, and coupled climate models in their doctoral projects. According to information on the DEEPICE website, their results will directly contribute to providing answers to important questions about the major climate changes the Earth has faced in the past and their impact on the Antarctic ice sheet. Researchers will be able to better understand past processes in the climate system and thus improve predictions for the future.

“Climate change is a major challenge for society today. New generations must be given the best tools to meet this challenge.”

Dr. Amaëlle Landais, Research Director at the CNRS Laboratory for Sciences of Climate and Environment (LSCE) and Lead Coordinator of the DEEPICE Network

The melting of the ice sheet and ice shelves in Antarctica as a result of climate change could have a significant impact on the world’s population. The huge amount of fresh water that would be released would have a major impact on global sea levels. The younger and following generations are particularly affected by this, which is why they need to be able to take action to address this massive environmental crisis. Therefore, DEEPICE will also provide the young scientists with the much needed communication skills to effectively inform the general public on the topic of climate change.

The oldest ice core will be retrieved in the coming years as part of the Beyond EPICA Oldest Ice project at Little Dome C (red dot in the map) at an altitude of over 3000 meters in Wilkesland, East Antarctica. Photo: British Antarctic Survey; Map: Australian Antarctic Program

The coordinator of the DEEPICE network is the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), and ten European research institutions and universities are involved, including the Alfred Wegener Institute and the University of Bern. There are also ten academic and non-academic partners, such as TOFWERK AG and PAGES (Past Global Changes) from Switzerland and Schäfter + Kirchhoff GmbH from Germany. The EU-funded DEEPICE project started in January this year and will run until the end of December 2024.

Link to the research network: DEEPICE

Link to the Beyond EPICA project: Beyond EPICA Oldest Ice

Julia Hager, PolarJournal

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