The improvement of climate models and the ability to predict climatic changes caused by anthropogenic impacts needs a better understanding of the mechanisms of global climate changes. Paleoclimatology provides an excellent opportunity to investigate such mechanisms and polar ice cores are unique archives which allow a direct determination of the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases and climatic changes in the past.
Europe has leading laboratories in the field of ice core recovery and analyses. Since about 12 years the efforts in polar regions are co-ordinated by European research projects. The Greenland Ice core Project (GRIP) successfully recovered an ice core at the Summit of the Greenland ice sheet and provided a wealth of information especially about fast climatic changes. North-South connections of the climate system remained very important open questions. Therefore, a new project with the goal to investigate past climatic changes by the analyses of two new ice cores to be drilled in Antarctica was implemented. The "European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica" (EPICA) is supported by the European Union. Ice core drilling has reached a depth of 1460 m at Dome Concordia (East Antarctica) and a second deep drilling will be started at Kohnen Station (Dronning Maud Land) in winter 2001/02.
Ice core records are a cornucopia for climatologists, but the data will be of much higher value if they are used in state of the art climate models and if they are compared with ice core results from different regions as well as with other climate archives. Euroconferences are a very efficient and fast way to inform climatologists outside EPICA about the newest results and on the other hand inform EPICA members about the most urgent open questions. This will guarantee that their investigations remain directed to the main objectives.
There have been two EuroConferences in the series of "Polar Regions and Quaternary Climate". They have been very successful and important for EPICA. The first of the suggested new conferences with the sub title "EuroConference on the comparison of ice core records with marine sediments and climate models" has the main goal to discuss preliminary results from the EPICA ice cores with scientists investigating other marine and terrestrial climate archives especially in the Southern Hemisphere and with climate modellers. The main focus of the second conference "EuroConference toward an integrative view of climate in Antarctica and circum-Antarctic regions" will be the comparison of results between the two EPICA ice cores and with results from other Antarctic ice cores and to draft possible conclusions.