South Pole Ice Core


On January 23, 2016, the South Pole Ice Core (SPICEcore) project reached its final depth of 1751 meters (5745 feet; 1.1 miles).

The stable isotope, aerosol, and atmospheric gas records in ice cores provide exceptional archives of past climate. Supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs, a new ~50,000-year long ice core was recovered from South Pole during the 2014-2015 field season (0 to 736 meters) and 2015-2016 field season (736 to 1751 meters) using the new U.S. Intermediate Depth Drill. The South Pole site preserves unique climate records by combining cold temperatures typical of East Antarctica with a relatively high accumulation rate due to West Antarctic influence. The South Pole ice core extends the international array of ice cores used to investigate environmental change since the last glacial/interglacial transition. The scientific goal is to assess and understand changes in atmospheric chemistry, climate, and biogeochemistry.

Subscribe to our E-Mail List

Email Address:

Science Proposals / Sample Requests

U.S. investigators submitting proposals requiring ice from the South Pole ice core should contact the South Pole ice core Science Coordination Office (SCO) prior to submitting. The SCO will provide a letter for inclusion with the proposals, assessing whether the ice core request is consistent with the South Pole ice core operation plan. To initiate the process, investigators should submit a SAMPLE REQUEST FORM to the SCO. Sample requests may take up to 6 weeks to process depending on the complexity of the request and other workloads.

If the SCO approves your Sample Request, the SCO will provide you with a Letter of Support stating that your proposal is consistent with the South Pole ice core operation plan. ** The Letter of Support needs to be submitted with your NSF proposal. **