Published: June 27, 2024 By

Photo: Tyler Jones, Rhys-Jasper León, Valerie Morris, Brooke Chase, Tirso Lara, Megan Erskine, Ella Johnson, and Adira Lunken work in the NSF Ice Core Facility, Lakewood Colorado.

A team of students and scientists are reanalyzing the GISP2 ice core, drilled in Greenland during the late 1980s through the early 90s, to investigate mechanisms of abrupt climate change and extreme events of the past.

Assistant Research Professor Tyler Jones, Assistant Professor Brad Markle, and Senior Professional Research Assistant Valerie Morris of INSTAAR’s Stable Isotope Lab are leading a group of students in resampling the Greenland Ice Sheet Project Two (GISP2) core. Water isotopes in the core were originally analyzed to give insight into environmental change in the Arctic over the past 100,000 years.

Now Jones’ group is taking samples from the same core, stored for decades, and analyzing them afresh.

Analytical techniques developed over the past decades mean the team is getting much more detailed data about Earth’s past climate, unlocked from water isotopes.

Jones says, “The original measurements yielded about 3,000 data points over 3,000 meters of ice. Now we will get millions of data points over 2,000 meters of ice.” (The researchers are analyzing two-thirds of the core.)

Jones calls the team “an amazing group.” They include CU Boulder grad students Rhys-Jasper León and Brooke Chase, Front Range Community College student Megan Erskine, Colorado College undergrad student Tirso Lara, and CU Boulder undergrads Ella Johnson and Adira Lunken.

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