About IDPO-IDDO, our goals, organization, motivation, history, and advisory boards



The Ice Drilling Program Office (IDPO) and the Ice Drilling Design and Operations (IDDO) group were established by the National Science Foundation (NSF) starting in October 2008 to coordinate long-term and short-term planning in collaboration with the greater US ice science community and to provide ice drilling and ice coring support and expertise for NSF-funded research.

Mary Albert at Dartmouth College leads the IDPO, with subawards to the University of New Hampshire (Mark Twickler) and Colorado School of Mines (Alfred Eustes) for specific IDPO functions, and to IDDO at the University of Wisconsin (Mark Mulligan) for drilling support. The IDPO provides scientific leadership and oversight of ice coring and drilling activities funded by NSF and also oversees IDDO activities. In addition, the IDPO convenes a Science Advisory Board for the purpose of forming and updating a Long Range Science Plan that articulates the direction of U.S. ice coring and drilling science and identifies the drills and drilling technology required to enable the science.

Kristina Slawny at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Space Science and Engineering Center (UW-SSEC) leads the IDDO via a subaward from IDPO-Dartmouth. The IDDO provides engineering design support for new drilling systems as well as the operation and maintenance of existing drill systems. Once a year the IDDO updates the Long Range Drilling Technology Plan, which provides an overview of the multifaceted system of drills and technology needed to advance the science that is identified in the IDPO Long Range Science Plan (see above). In addition, in order to have the best available advice in regard to drill innovation, design, and operation, IDDO has established a Technical Advisory Board of experts who meet regularly and are available for occasional specific technical tasks.

For information about the genesis of IDPO and IDDO, read the Eos article A New Paradigm for Ice Core Drilling (Eos Trans AGU, vol 91(39), 2010, p. 345-346).

To produce and maintain long-term and short-term integrated science and drilling technology plans in collaboration with the U.S. ice coring and drilling research communities
To identify new technology needs, seek funding for technology development, and acquire new technology
To provide the drills, equipment, and drilling expertise needed by the science
To enhance communication and information exchange related to ice coring and drilling science and technology

Our Motivation

One of the most pressing environmental issues of our time is anticipating the climate changes resulting from our warming planet. In order to predict the future with confidence, we need a clear understanding of the past changes recorded in and under the climate archives of glaciers and the polar ice sheets. Ice core records have led to many important discoveries about climate change, for example the discovery that dramatic changes in climate can occur abruptly, in less than ten years. This discovery has revolutionized climate science and also has important impacts on policy; it established some of the key groundwork leading to the 2007 award of the Nobel Peace Prize to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for climate science. Members of the U.S. ice coring community have led the efforts for these and a multitude of other important findings in fields ranging from climate to life in extreme environments to geophysics. The societal need for accurate predictions of future sea level rise requires improved understanding of glacier and ice sheet dynamics. This involves probing glaciers and ice sheets by geophysical means, with particular emphasis on poorly understood basal processes. Ice sheets themselves can serve as platforms for science for a wide range of discoveries, from astrophysics to biology in extreme environments. U.S. scientific productivity in these areas, including both knowledge generation and creation of the next generation of scientists, critically depends upon a mechanism for ensuring continuity and international cooperation in ice coring and ice drilling efforts, along with availability of appropriate drills, drilling expertise, and innovations in drilling technology.

To enable discoveries about changes in climate and the environment, using evidence from within and beneath glaciers and ice sheets, to inform environmental policy.

Our History

The Ice Drilling Program Office (IDPO) and the Ice Drilling Design and Operations (IDDO) group, together known as IDPO-IDDO, were established by the National Science Foundation (NSF) starting in October 2008 to coordinate long-term and short-term planning in collaboration with the greater U.S ice science community, and to be the principle supplier of ice drilling and ice coring support and expertise for NSF-funded research. This approach to integrated research and technology planning and delivery replaces the prior approach to ice drilling, which involved a series of NSF contracts with the Polar Ice Coring Office and Ice Coring and Drilling Services. This contracting approach lacked integrated planning. Previously, NSF had no way to forecast what science the community would propose – it would get compelling science proposals that needed ice cores for data, but in many cases no existing drill could retrieve the core needed in the proposal. Constructing the needed drill – a process that takes years – forced science objectives to be put on hold. Now the science community is able to give feedback on its needs to IDPO-IDDO continually, allowing those who develop drilling technology to begin designing and constructing drills that scientists will need for the science proposals that they will submit years in the future. As such, IDPO-IDDO represents a new paradigm for integrated science and science support.

The U.S. Ice Drilling Program’s mission is to conduct integrated planning for the ice drilling science and technology communities, and to provide drilling technology and operational support that will enable the community to advance the frontiers of science.

Strategic and Implementation Plan

As required by the project's Cooperative Agreements, IDPO-IDDO has developed a strategic and implementation plan to guide its activities.