Building 'ice memory' archives essential to preserve climate history
The Ice Memory Foundation has a team of eight conducting research and attempting to extract and transport massive tubes preserving "ice memory" and "crucial data".
The Ice Memory Foundation team made up of eight French, Italian, and Norwegian researchers have camped in Norway's Svalbard archipelago in March and April, as part of the 20-year project, attempting to preserve ancient Arctic ice records.
According to the scientists, the ice records will allow them to analyze chemicals in such deep "ice cores" considered to be valuable data denoting centuries of past climatic and environmental conditions. The data would remain useful years after the original glaciers disappeared.
In a race against time and the climate to preserve this "ice memory", the scientists extracted three massive tubes of glacier ice on Svalbard. These tubes will be added to the collection of tubes, which were extracted since 2015 when the project was launched, currently being preserved for future scientific analysis at a research station in Antarctica.
According to experts, meltwater is seeping into ancient ice as the world's temperatures increase, endangering the geochemical records it carries before scientists can gather them.
Jean-Charles Gallet, snow physicist at the Norwegian Polar Institute and expedition coordinator, explained that "glaciers are not only dramatically losing their mass but also their cold content."
Paleoclimatologist and Ice Memory vice-chair Carlo Barbante urged scientists across the world to not waste time and "to collect samples from endangered glaciers or to save... already collected ice cores, to preserve these very precious data in the Ice Memory sanctuary in Antarctica."
Moreover, Ice Memory Director Anne-Catherine Ohlmann emphasized, "If we lose archives like this, we will lose the memory of human alteration of the climate," adding, "We will also lose crucial information for future scientists and policymakers, who will have to make decisions for the well-being of society.”