EPICA is a long-term ( 7 years) European deep ice-core 'drilling project in Antarctica to derive high resolution recordls of climate and atmospheric composition through several glacial-interglacial cycles. The project is designed to complement the highly successful central Greenland projects and it will allow extension and full documentation of the East Antarctic record so far essentially limited to the analysis of the Vostok core.
To achieve EPICA's goals, it will be necessary to drill at two sites, both to achieve the required resolution on different timescales and an adequate continent-wide perspective.
In order to ensure that logistics and ice-core laboratory capacities across Europe are not overloaded, and to match the shorter-term cycle of funding, the project will be split into two phases.
The first phase (1996-2000)) focuses on the major climate shifts that have characterized the past several glacial interglacial cycbs. This will be done by analyzing a 3500 m long ice core drilled at Dome Concordia, south of the Indian Ocean in East Antartica. A core from this location, which is ideally placed to secure an undisturbed long record, will allow examinalion of the relative phasing of clhnate and climate-forcing parameters associated with these major climate-change events. The core locadon is also optimal to put the Antarctic record into a global context, and in particular, to produce a record for comparison with the ocean, continental and Greenland ice records. The new core will be adequate for a detailed examination of the existence and global character of rapid events during the Eemian and previous interglacials as well as during ice ages.
During the second phase of the project, a core will be obtained from Dronning Maud Land, an area of Antartica most strongly influenced by the Atlandc ocean, and a region of somewhat higher annual snowfall rate and thinner ice cover. This phase of the proiect is designed to focus specifically on the rapid climate oscillations that have been detected across Greerdand throughout the last glaciation, and that are believed to have been associated with mode shifts in the Atlantic Thermohaline circulation. The drilling should also give access to the Eemian ice sequence reported rom the GRIP record during this past warm period. The Dronning Maud Land area is also one of the least explored sectors of Antarctica, hence a frameword of basic geophysical survey is needed to ensure that the optimal site is selected for drilling. In order to ensure that there is no major hiatu s in the projet, this reconnaissance survey is being planned as an integral part of the first phase of drilling at Dome Concordia.
Traverses to the two drilling sites will provide the opportunity to obtain shallow cores to study recent changes in climate and atmospheric chemistry in a wide geographic context as well as data relevant to mass balance an ice dynamics.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
CB3 0ET Cambridge
106 91 Stockholm
3584 CC Utrecht