IDP successfully supported the following seven projects recently in the Arctic, Peru, and North America.
(1) The Climate Drivers and Ancient History in Greenland Ice project (PI Joseph McConnell; NSF award 1925417) used the Foro 400 Drill to collect two cores to 261 meters and 173 meters depth from the Tunu region of northeast Greenland. The cores will be analyzed for a broad range of elements, chemical species, and isotopes to reconstruct climate and human impacts during the past ~4000 years. The goal of the research is to develop accurately dated, high-resolution, ice-core records of a broad range of elements and chemical species to expand and extend recently identified causal linkages between (a) ancient societies; (b) volcanism and hydroclimate; and (c) wars, plagues, social unrest, and economic activity.
(2) The Collaborative Research: Arctic Observing Network for Observing Transformation of the Greenland Ice Sheet Firn Layer project (PIs Neil Humphrey and Joel Harper; NSF awards 2113391 and 2113392) used an IDDO Hand Auger and Sidewinder to drill and instrument four holes to 25 meters depth to observe transformation of the Greenland Ice sheet’s percolation zone firn layer. Using the IDDO Hand Auger and Sidewinder, repeat cores will be collected over five years to track density and ice content changes, and instrumentation installed in core holes will monitor firn temperature evolution and compaction of the firn layer. The data from these efforts will be of high value to scientists focused on changes in storage capacity of the firn layer, process details of meltwater infiltration in cold firn, and the influence of firn compaction and melt on satellite-observed ice sheet elevation.
(3) The NSFGEO-NERC: Collaborative Research: Chemistry and Biology under Low Flow Hydrologic Conditions Beneath the Greenland Ice Sheet Revealed through Naturally Emerging Subglacial Water project (PIs Kathy Licht and Trinity Hamilton; NSF awards 2039854 and 2039582) is studying the deposits of freeze-on ice (known as naledi) that form over winter at land-terminating outlets of the Greenland Ice Sheet. In this multi-year field campaign, the researchers are using the SIPRE Hand Auger to extract multiple intact short cores from sites in West Greenland with naledi at the ice margin. The cores will be analyzed in terms of the structure of the ice and sediment content, mineralogy of the sediment, stable isotopes, chemistry of salts and solutes, and microbiology. The goal is to use these cores to extract information about seasonal changes in the chemical and biological processes occurring under the Greenland Ice Sheet and thereby further elucidate the connections between glacial hydrology and subglacial biogeochemistry.
(4) The Collaborative Research: P2C2--Ultra-High-Resolution Investigation of High Andean Snow and Ice Chemistry to Improve Paleoclimatic Reconstruction and Enhance Climate Prediction project (PIs Paul Mayewski and Anton Seimon; NSF awards 1600018 and 1566450) is investigating past and modern change in climate over Peru and Bolivia using snow and ice samples to improve predictions for future climate. Instrumental records of climate and environmental variability from the region are sparse. However, ice cores from Central Andean glaciers can provide a source of high-resolution records of past climate dynamics and chemistry of the atmosphere extending back in time for centuries to millennia. Using the Electrothermal Drill, an IDP engineer and the researchers retrieved a 128-meter core to bedrock from the Quelccaya Ice Cap in Peru. The goal of the research is to combine advances in ice core sampling technology, knowledge of Andean storm event meteorology, cyberinfrastructure, and climate modeling and analysis to fresh snow, snow pits and ice core data from Peru and Bolivia to help assess the impact of natural and human-induced physical and chemical climate change at the storm-scales that impact day to day and season to season events.
(5) The Collaborative Research: P2C2--Ice Core and Firn Aquifer Studies at Combatant Col, British Columbia, Canada project (PIs Peter Neff and Eric Steig; NSF awards 2002441 and 2001961) used an IDDO Hand Auger to collect shallow cores from their field site at Combatant Col, British Columbia, Canada. The team also conducted radar work at the site and is scheduled to return to the field site during the 2023 field season, during which they will use the Electrothermal Drill to retrieve a core to bedrock. In combination with high-resolution radar imaging, the core from Combatant Col will be used to determine whether the observed firn-aquifer at this site (where liquid water is stored perennially above the firn-ice transition) has been a persistent feature at the site or whether it has formed recently, and to determine its impact on glacier energy balance and dynamics.
(6) The Reconstructing Ancient Human and Ecosystem Responses to Holocene Climate Conditions project (PIs Dave McWethy and Joseph McConnell; NSF award 1832486) is reconstructing Holocene climatic conditions to better understand human adaptation and response to past environmental variability. The researchers are using the assemblages of plant, animal, geologic, and archaeological material emerging from melting ice-patches in higher-elevation areas to learn about past environmental conditions and human use of alpine resources. The investigators are using an array of archaeological artifacts, ancient wood, and environmental and climatic proxies (e.g., oxygen isotopes, black carbon, continental dust, charcoal, and pollen) from ice cores collected from Northern Rocky Mountain ice-patches to better understand human use of alpine environments during periods of dramatic environmental change. The investigators used the Chipmunk Drill to collect the ice cores.
(7) The NSFGEO-NERC: Collaborative Research: Two-Phase Dynamics of Temperate Ice project (PIs Lucas Zoet and Neal Iverson; NSF awards 1643123 and 1643120) is investigating how ice infiltration into subglacial sediments affects glacier slip. The fastest-changing regions of the Antarctic and Greenland Ice Sheets that contribute most to sea-level rise are underlain by soft sediments that facilitate glacier motion. Glacier ice can infiltrate several meters into these sediments, depending on the temperature and water pressure at the glacier’s base. To understand how ice infiltration into subglacial sediments affects glacier slip, the researchers are conducting laboratory experiments under relevant temperature and pressure conditions and comparing the results to state-of-the-art mathematical models. The researchers used the Chipmunk Drill to collect small-diameter ice cores from their sheared lab ice for further testing.