Down to the core

The first leg of research to uncover the most detailed record of greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere over the past 100,000 years wrapped up this month in Antarctica. Led by chief scientist Kendrick Taylor of the Desert Research Institute, a team of researchers, engineers, technicians and students are working on the National Science Foundation’s West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide (WAIS Divide) Ice Core Project. They’ve recovered a 1,900-foot ice core, which they hope is part of a two-mile long ice core that will read like a weather report of the past 100,000 years. The information is expected to help scientists predict just how much human activity will alter Earth’s climate, according to Taylor. The project has been 15 years in the works, and, with only 40 warm-weather drilling days a year, fieldwork is expected to be completed in January 2010.