Ice and Medicine at the end of the earth

3. What is T.J. testing or looking for in the ice and why?

Thanks for the question, Cheyanne.

We are looking for a variety of things in the ice cores.  I specifically look at the electrical conductance of the ice to figure out how old the ice core is. My colleagues measure many other things. One of the main reasons to drill ice cores is that they store air from the past. For instance, we can measure the CO2 in the atmosphere for the past many thousands of years in ice cores. We also measure stable isotopes, which you will learn about in your lab, that tell us about past temperature.

I am keeping this answer short since I plan to write some blog posts with more information about what we are looking for in the South Pole ice core. Stay tuned.

– T.J.

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