Antarctic Climate Archives

Ice core tent, Annette Plateau, Mount Cook National Park

Scientists examining Antarctic cores

Ice cores recovered from Antarctica and New Zealand are used to reconstruct high-resolution climate records for the past 70,000 years to improve understanding of Southern Hemisphere climate drivers and to reduce uncertainties in predictive climate models.

Project leader: Nancy Bertler

The Roosevelt Island Climate Evolution (RICE) Project is an international collaboration between New Zealand, Australia, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Sweden, People’s Republic of China, United Kingdom, and the United States of America. The aim of this project is to determine the stability of the Ross Ice Shelf and West Antarctica by analysing ice cores from Roosevelt Island, a small, ice covered island at the northern edge of the Ross Ice Shelf.

The climate archive recorded in this 763 m deep ice core sheds light on the past behaviour of the Ross Ice Shelf. This will help to predict how West Antarctica may respond in a warming world. Antarctica’s response to climate change is likely to cause a significant rise in global sea levels. The RICE Project aims to determine how quickly this might happen and the potential magnitude of the rise. Nancy Bertler explains the project and its implications here.

New Zealand participation in the RICE Project is jointly funded by the GNS Global Change through Time Programme and Victoria University of Wellington (Antarctic Research Centre). Please visit RICE website for more information.

For further information about ice core research including videos, FAQs and more go to our Ice and Snow website.

See Outputs and Outcomes for our latest publications.