Reading Antarctic’s past In ice cores


The sub-Antarctic islands (SAI) are uniquely located to capture changes in the globally significant circumpolar westerly winds and the Antarctic circumpolar current, key to the mixing and ventilation of the world’s deep oceans. The Sub-Antarctic – ice coring expedition (SubICE) is an international collaboration to provide the first glaciological and palaeoclimate records from the remote and globally significant SAI’s, before glacial retreat and warming surface temperatures destroy this valuable palaeoclimate archive forever.  The experienced team will drill several shallow ice cores (~20m), at both high and low elevation sites, and conduct state-of-the-art helicopter radar surveys at a number of glaciated SAI’s to improve our understanding of southern hemisphere climate dynamics. We will retrieve records of past climate and atmospheric circulation patterns, including the variability of the southern ocean winds, measure atmospheric pollutants, and estimate ice volume, its internal structure and basal conditions, to provide a much needed benchmark for future glacial retreat. The ice dynamics and proxy preservation determined as part of ACE is essential to determine the optimal location for future deep ice core drilling projects.

Principal Investigator (PI)

Elizabeth (Liz) Thomas

British Antarctic Survey,  UK


Sub-Antarctic – ice coring expedition (SubICE) – LEAD

Principal institution / country

  • Centre for Ice and Climate,
  • Copenhagen (Denmark)
  • Australian Antarctic Division,
  • Hobart (Australia)
  • University of Magallanes (Chile)
  • Climate Change Institute,
  • University of Maine, (USA)
  • Earth and Space Sciences,
  • University  of Washington, USA.