For scientists interested in global change problems, ice core records provide a unique and invaluable medium for studying the past. These records yield both direct and proxy links to the paleoenvironment over periods potentially as long as hundreds of thousands of years with resolution down to seasonal scale for time-series on the order of hundreds to thousands of years. In addition, the fact that most ice core records are retrieved from locations rarely, if ever, occupied by observers, adds to the value of these data sets.
In response to the growing importance of such records, the National Science Foundation's Division of Polar Programs recently sponsored the U.S. Ice Core Research Workshop in Durham, N.H. At the workshop, 45 U.S. scientists actively involved in ice core research together formulated a globally based strategy planned through the 1990s that would result in the development of an ice core program integrally tied to global change issues. Representatives from the European ice core research community also attended, to aid in discussions of anticipated joint international efforts.