A New Paradigm for Ice Core Drilling

Title A New Paradigm for Ice Core Drilling
Publication Type
News Article
Author(s) Mary R Albert , Charles R Bentley, Mark S Twickler
Journal/ Publication
Eos Trans. AGU

The search for answers to questions about the changing climate has created an urgent need to discover past climate signatures archived in glaciers and ice sheets, and to understand current ice sheet behavior. Recognizing that U.S. scientific productivity in this area depends upon a mechanism for ensuring continuity and international cooperation in ice coring and drilling efforts, along with the availability of appropriate drills, drilling expertise, and innovations in drilling technology, the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) has established the Ice Drilling Program Office (IDPO) and its partner, the Ice Drilling Design and Operations group (IDDO), together known as IDPO/IDDO (Figure 1). This approach to integrated research and technology planning and delivery replaces the prior approach to drilling, which involved a series of NSF contracts with the Polar Ice Coring Office (PICO) and Ice Coring and Drilling Services (ICDS). This contracting approach lacked integrated planning. Previously, NSF had no way to forecast what science the community would propose – it would get compelling climate 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.

Special Collections History of Ice Drilling/Coring, IDP Documents
Citation Mary R Albert , Charles R Bentley, Mark S Twickler ( 2010 ) A New Paradigm for Ice Core Drilling. Eos Trans. AGU , 91 , 39 , 345-346 .
Lead Author
Mary R Albert