Antarctic Ice Samples May Offer Vital Climate Answers

3/27/2008 // Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg 20 January had video contact from the Troll research station in the Antarctic with the leader of the international scientific expedition which has been traversing East Antarctica from Troll towards the South Pole, Director Jan-Gunnar Winther of the Norwegian Polar Institute.

With scientists from four nations the expedition has been studying changes in the ice sheet in Queen Maud Land, to gain knowledge of the role the Antarctic is playing for the world’s climate. Until now knowledge of climate changes in the Antarctic has been scarce. The expedition is a major research project in the International Polar Year. Winther said 700 metres of ice cores have been collected, making it possible to map the climate for the last thousand years.

”Results of this research may offer invaluable knowledge of climate changes in this largely unexplored part of the Antarctic, although analyses will take some time. If results will prove that Antarctic ice masses are increasing or diminishing, this may have direct impact on global sea levels,” Prime Minister Stoltenberg said.

Due to technical problems the expedition had to finish its work only 350 kilometres from the South Pole, but Winther said the entire scientific programme will be completed and that invaluable material has been collected for further analysis.

Jan-Gunnar Winther said satellite photos have been an excellent support for navigation as well as for research. ”Satellite photos are of an impressive quality and resolution. Via our own satellite receivers at the Troll station we are able to zoom in on interesting items down to the size of snow crystals,” Winther said.


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