Environment & Biodiversity

Arctic researchers are racing to protect ‘Ice Memory.’

Scientists from Italy, France, and Norway have established a camp in the Norwegian island of Svalbard to collect samples of ancient ice for study before the frozen layers melt due to climate change.

Project ‘Ice Memory’

  • Scientists will drill a series of tubes up to 125 metres (137 yards) below the surface, where frozen geochemical traces going back three centuries will be found.
  • The experts will extract ice for three weeks in temperatures as low as -25 degrees Celsius (-13 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • The process is overseen by the Ice Memory Foundation.
  • Scientists will gain important information about past environmental conditions from the ice cores.

Storage and analysis

  • One set of ice tubes will be used immediately for analysis, while a second set will be sent to Antarctica for preservation in a “ice memory sanctuary” beneath the snow.
  • The samples will be kept for future generations of experts to study.

Reason for drilling

  • The Arctic is warming two to four times faster than the rest of the world, and melting ice is altering the geochemical records kept in ancient ice beneath.
  • As a result, scientists are racing against the clock to preserve vital ice records before they vanish permanently from the planet’s surface.
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