U from dust in the ice matrix can be used to provide an additional core chronology. The thickness of the annual layers in ice cores can be used to derive a precipitation rate (after correcting for thinning by glacier flow).
It must have a suitable freezing point and viscosity.
Collecting the deepest ice cores (up to 3000 m) requires a (semi)permanent scientific camp and a long, multi-year campaign.
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If we want to reconstruct past air temperatures, one of the most critical parameters is the age of the ice being analysed.
Fortunately, ice cores preserve annual layers, making it simple to date the ice. Other ways of dating ice cores include geochemisty, layers of ash (tephra), electrical conductivity, and using numerical flow models to understand age-depth relationships. This 19 cm long of GISP2 ice core from 1855 m depth shows annual layers in the ice. Seasonal differences in the snow properties create layers – just like rings in trees. Unfortunately, annual layers become harder to see deeper in the ice core. By looking at past concentrations of greenhouse gasses in layers in ice cores, scientists can calculate how modern amounts of carbon dioxide and methane compare to those of the past, and, essentially, compare past concentrations of greenhouse gasses to temperature. Ice cores have been drilled in ice sheets worldwide, but notably in Greenland and Antarctica[4, 5].