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420,000 years of ice core data from Vostok, Antarctica research station. From bottom to top: * Solar variation at 65°N due to en: Milankovitch cycles (connected to 18O). They spent two nights at each site, first collecting radar data and secondly collecting a 15 m shallow ice core. This schematic cross section of an ice sheet shows an ideal drilling site at the centre of the polar plateau near the ice divide, with ice flowing away from the ice divide in all direction. The large Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have huge, high plateaux where snow accumulates in an ordered fashion. The team were travelling across the West Antarctic Ice Sheet to study snow accumulation. The relationship is consistent and linear over Antarctica. Snow falls over Antarctica and is slowly converted to ice. U from dust in the ice matrix can be used to provide an additional core chronology.
Fortunately, ice cores preserve annual layers, making it simple to date the ice.
Past precipitation rates are an important palaeoenvironmental indicator, often correlated to climate change, and it’s an essential parameter for many past climate studies or numerical glacier simulations.
Ice cores provide us with lots of information beyond bubbles of gas in the ice.
For example, melt layers are related to summer temperatures.
More melt layers indicate warmer summer air temperatures.