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Ancient Ice Reveals Truth About Earth's Climate

Aug 11, 2016 01:52 PM EDT
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Researchers are able to find out more on earth's past climate with the help of ice cores.

In the National Ice Core Laboratory at Lakewood, extracted ice from the depths of Antarctica and Greenland is sliced up, photographed and tested. The ice is sent to other labs where researchers experiment in them in order to find out details about the earth's past and future. The ice cores that are collected are scraps of snowfall that have been accumulated and compressed over years.

The ice cores, in fact, provide researchers with detailed information about the earth including the temperature, greenhouse gases and other climate related details as well. The details can go back to up to 800,000 years.

T.J. Fudge, a University of Washington researcher stated "You can drill into it, and it's much like looking at tree rings," "It's just year after year after year of climate information that's preserved out in the ice sheet." according to Phys Org .

Drilling rigs are used to extract ice cores from nearly 9,800 feet below the surface. These ice cores are then put into protective tubes, packed in freezing containers and then sent to the Colorado lab in the U.S. The Colorado lab is funded by the National Science Foundation.

A part of every ice core is also stored in a larger room at about minus 33 degrees. This will help researchers in the future to go back to old results and even to experiment for new data. At the moment, nearly 56,000 feet of ice has been archived.

To find out the temperature when the snow fell, scientists take differences in the weight of the molecules in frozen water that can help identify the temperature when the snow fell.

Scientists have been able to gather important details about climate change in the world. Using the ice cores, it was identified that the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been higher than any time earlier as recorded in the ice cores.

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