Beyond EPICA

Beyond EPICA Oldest Ice Core Title: Beyond EPICA Oldest Ice Core: 1,5 Myr of greenhouse gas - climate feedbacks
Acronym: Beyond EPICA
Principal Investigator ISP: Carlo Barbante
Leading Institution: Institute of Polar Sciences (CNR-ISP)
Funding: EU Horizon 2020 - Research and Innovation Action (RIA) under H2020 Grant Agreement No. 815384
Period of activity: 2019 - 2026

The project will recover the first ever ice core record reaching beyond 1 million years (1 Myr) ago, extending our knowledge on climate and greenhouse gas forcing to 1.5 Myr, past the change in climate dynamics known as the Mid-Pleistocene Transition, where glacial/interglacial cycles changed from a 40,000 to a 100,000 yr cyclicity. This is a longstanding aim of international ice core science and is eagerly awaited by the entire palaeoclimate discipline and the wider climate community. Recovering a 1.5 Myr record of climate and greenhouse gases (GHGs) from Antarctica will resolve long-standing questions about the causes of change in the dynamics of climate over this timeframe, elucidating the linkages between the ocean, atmosphere, ice sheets and carbon cycle. This will provide a completely new, palaeo-based view of planetary boundaries and will tighten the constraints on the response of the Earth system over various timescales to future greenhouse gas emissions. The results obtained will be of paramount importance for the implementation of future Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and to the Climate Action objective (#13) of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations that aims to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. [Such an oldest ice record is also a key priority for the international ice core community, as articulated by its planning body IPICS (International Partnerships in Ice Core Sciences).

The overarching scientific goal driving BE-OIC is to obtain the first stratigraphically undisturbed, high-resolution ice-core record of climate and environmental changes over the last 1.5 Myr and use it to elucidate the role of slow parts of the climate system (carbon cycle, ice sheets) in climate change. By obtaining for the first time ever a continuous ice core extending up to the last 1.5 Myr, we will cover the Mid Pleistocene Transition (MPT, from approximately 1.2 Myr to 0.9 Myr before present).

Project Partners
• ISP: The Institute of Polar Sciences (Italy)
• AWI: The Alfred-Wegener Institute (Germany)
• UKRI-BAS: The British Antarctic Survey (UK)
• IPEV: The French Polar Institute (France)
• ENEA: The National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (Italy)
• CNRS: The National Scientific Research Centre (France)
• UU: The Utrecht University (Netherlands)
• NPI: The Norwegian Polar Institute (Norway)
• SU: The University of Stockholm (Sweden)
• UBERN: The University of Bern (Switzerland)
• UCPH: The University of Copenhagen (Denmark)
• ULB: The Brussels University (Belgium)
See also partners

Main Publications
• Bohleber, P., Roman, M., Šala, M., & Barbante, C. (2020). Imaging the impurity distribution in glacier ice cores with LA-ICP-MS. Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, 35(10), 2204–2212. DOI: 10.3390/jmse9030243.
• Fourteau, K., Martinerie, P., Faïn, X., Ekaykin, A. A., Chappellaz, J., & Lipenkov, V. (2020). Estimation of gas record alteration in very low-accumulation ice cores. Climate of the Past, 16(2), 503–522. DOI: 10.5194/cp-16-503-2020.
• Baccolo, G., Delmonte, B., Niles, P. B., Cibin, G., Di Stefano, E., Hampai, D., Keller, L., Maggi, V., Marcelli, A., Michalski, J., Snead, C., & Frezzotti, M. (2021). Jarosite formation in deep Antarctic ice provides a window into acidic, water-limited weathering on Mars. Nature Communications, 12(1), 436. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-20705-z.

Other informations

• F1 - Aerial View during Beyond EPICA LDC Camp building - season 2019-2020 (Credit: T.Stocker)
• F2 - Building the drilling tent - LDC camp season 2019-2020 (Credit: T.Stocker)
• F3 - Signpost at LDC Camp - season 2019-2020 (Credit: Remo Walther)

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