BANGOR – Scientists from the University of Maine’s Climate Change Institute are analyzing pieces of Antarctic ice that is as old as dinosaurs.
“The oldest age that came was 2.7, but usable age, meaning like we can measure something useful from it was 2.2, 2.4 million years so its a very old ice,” Climate Change Institute Associate Professor Andrei Kurbatov said.
In expeditions in conjunction with Princeton University, students and scientists have been periodically sent to the Allan Hills in Antarctica, sometimes for months at a time, to drill in the below-freezing weather for ancient ice cores.
Once the cores make it back to campus, students study the ice and it’s ancient gas bubbles to look at what Kurbatov called, “snapshots” of prehistoric conditions and temperatures.
“It’s a lot of cold work in the freezer, so students actually have to go and sample ice in the freezers, they have to process the samples, they have to help us measure it. So it’s a lot of work, it’s a lot of tedious work in the lab,” he said.
He also said the study of the ice will help scientists better understand the secrets of Earth’s past climate, what role human carbon emissions have on the current climate and what the climate will be in the future.
“The climate is the only thing that will really impact Maine in the future from a natural, kind of hazard perspective and it’s really relevant to any citizen of Maine,” he said.
To learn more, visit Ancient Ice.org