They are immortalizing glaciers for the future

They are immortalizing glaciers for the future

Scientists collect climate records from glaciers around the world. To better understand the disturbances, particularly the increase in carbon dioxide.

Since the initial 2016 mission on the Mont Blanc block, Operation Ice Memory has sampled about two dozen glaciers representing the entire globe. Using wells dug deep into the glaciers, Ice Memory science teams took two long cylinders of ice from each of the top five glaciers on the list. From the surface to the bedrock of the glacier, the length of each core exceeds 100 meters. It contains air bubbles and particles that have been deposited, winter after winter, for hundreds and thousands of years. It constitutes a unique testimony to the climatic history of the Earth. Towering over the Andes, the Elemanni ice sheets can tell the story of South America since the last Ice Age 20,000 years ago. In Siberia, the Belukha glacier recorded 15,000 years of climate history in this continental region, while Mont Blanc recorded only two centuries of fluctuation, due to its different shape and climatic conditions.

Heritage Islands dedicated to the science of the future

These specimens are separated into 1-meter sections and then lowered by helicopter, or on the back of a man in the Andes, sometimes weighing several tons, and these specimens are stored in cold rooms. During the analysis of the first reference cores, the “heritage core” is preserved: it is oriented to the science of the future. In a few years, these cores will be headed to Antarctica, where they will be kept without the risk of energy hazards. Like a seed vault dug on an island in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, the futuristic “drill library” at the Franco-Italian Concordia station will keep them in the constant cold (-54 °C) of its polar vaults … So in a hundred years, in a thousand years, Future scientists can reopen these grimoires, re-read Earth’s climatic history, and perhaps make discoveries unimaginable today for the benefit of humanity tomorrow.

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In the Cryosphere Pavilion, during COP26, the Memory of Ice Foundation presented its following missions. Because this unprecedented group still lacks samples from the glaciers emblematic of the Himalayan regions, in Northern Europe, as well as the last African glacier, the Kilimanjaro River, which will contain traces of the evolution of the climate of this region over the past twenty thousand years. But time is running out, as the aborted mission in the Swiss Alps has shown: Grand Combin’s ice flowed toward the valley, leaving glaciologists empty-handed and a bit bitter.

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