National Institute of Polar Research

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Collaborative Research

Ice Core Research Center

Uncovering the history of climate change from ice cores

Director  Kumiko Goto-Azuma

Ice core drilling and analyses

Ice sheets such as the Antarctic ice sheet and the Greenland ice sheet are composed of strata of snow accumulated over as long as hundreds of thousands of years. When we sample such ice by taking ice cores, we use drills designed for ice sampling, and by analyzing the cores, we can get a picture of the past environmental conditions of the Earth when the snow was deposited. Ice core research provides very important data for predicting future climatic changes. The Ice Core Research Center was established in the National Institute of Polar Research to reinforce and promote ice core research comprehensively over the long-term.

NIPR owns and operates cutting-edge ice drilling equipment. NIPR has conducted very deep ice coring twice at Dome Fuji, located on an inland plateau of East Antarctica, and has succeeded in recovering ice cores from depths of up to 3035 m (covering more than 700,000 years). NIPR has also conducted shallow ice core drilling at multiple sites in Antarctica and the Arctic. For these reasons, NIPR is characterized by its distinguished abilities in ice core research and ice core drilling. In addition, NIPR has set up laboratories where we are capable of rapidly producing high-quality ice core data by using a number of advanced analytical instruments. Under the lead of the Ice Core Research Center, we aim to further advance interdisciplinary ice core research domestically and internationally. NIPR will acquire substantial data and publish research papers on ice cores. NIPR also plays an organizing/planning role in future ice coring projects. We expect the Ice Core Research Center to be utilized by many researchers and serve as the center for inter-university research collaborations.

Chemical analysis of ice cores in a clean room.

Pre-processing for ice core analysis in the cold room.

Ice drilling site at Dome Fuji station, Antarctica.

Guide to cold room facilities

NIPR has modern cold room facilities used for measurements and analyses and for related polar research requiring advanced technology. The cold room facility has nine rooms that serve as low temperature laboratories, six rooms that serve as low temperature storage rooms, and two rooms that serve as room-temperature laboratories. These facilities are available to researchers who require a low temperature environment for their experimental studies. The Ice Core Research Center is in charge of managing these cold room facilities. For a more detailed description of the facilities and information on application/approval procedures for research use, please visit our website.

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