International effort helps decipher mysteries of paleoclimate from Antarctic ice cores


  • Vostok Project Members


Ice cores drilled at Vostok Station, Antarctica, and studied over the past 10 years by Russia, France, and the United States (Figure 1) are providing a wealth of information about past climate and environmental changes over more than a full glacial-interglacial cycle. The ice cores show that East Antarctica was colder and drier during glacial periods than during the Holocene and that large-scale atmospheric circulation was more vigorous during glacial times. They also support evidence from deep-sea sediment studies favoring orbital forcing of Pleistocene climate, reveal direct correlations of carbon dioxide and methane concentrations with temperature, and indicate how the accumulation of trace compounds have changed through time.