Banner Eurocold Lab

Roosvelt Island Climate Evolution - RICE Project

RICE is an international collaboration between New Zealand, USA, Denmark, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, Italy and China. The project was successful in recovering a 763 m deep ice core to bedrock from Roosevelt Island in Antarctica to determine the stability of the Ross Ice Shelf and West Antarctica in a warming world (Dr. Nancy Bertler, Chief Scientist).

The RICE deep ice core is expected to provide a 30kyr long extremely high-resolution view of climate change in the Ross Sea Embayment Region and data essential to test and understand critical questions that have emerged as a consequence of the recent synthesis of Antarctic and Southern Ocean climate change presented in the Scientific Commission for Antarctic Research document: Antarctic Climate Change and the Environment (ACCE, 2009).

Roosevelt Island is situated in the transition zone of the Ross Ice Shelf/sea ice/Ross Sea and as a consequence will provide a highly sensitive deep ice core location that is expected to capture in great detail evidence of regional (West Antarctica) and global climate fluctuations

RICE deep ice core climate products will benefit from detailed paleoclimate reconstructions developed from the dense array of 200+ year ice core records created by the International Trans Antarctic Scientific Expedition (ITASE) and from existing deep ice cores on the continent. The unique geographic location of the RICE deep ice core allows examination of change in critical climate players: (1) Southern Hemisphere westerlies; (2) Amundsen Sea Low; (3) sea ice extent, mass balance and glacier dynamics; and (4) human source pollutant forcing of the physical and chemical climate of the Southern Hemisphere.

The RICE deep ice core record will provide information necessary in unraveling the significance of multi-millennial underpinning for climate change and in the understanding of observed and projected climate change in light of current dramatic human impact on Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. More specifically it will provide data to investigate the following: (1) How differently has West Antarctic climate responded over the last glacial/interglacial cycle from climate change in other regions and what are the implications? (2) How did the climate of the Ross Sea Embayment change during the transition from Ross Ice Sheet to Ross Ice Shelf? (3) What is the phasing sequence of Antarctic-Arctic abrupt climate change and what are the implications for future climate change? (4) What is the impact of changes in the westerlies and the Amundsen Sea Low in past, present, and future climate change with particular reference to propagated changes in mass balance, temperature, sea ice extent, and thinning and retreat of West Antarctic glaciers? Could future changes occur abruptly? (5) How has Antarctic sea ice extent varied in the past and what are the future implications? Could future changes occur abruptly? (6) How strong is the human influence on the Antarctic atmosphere and what are the implications?

For more information

Please visit Victoria University of Wellington's RICE webpage including a list of all parties involved