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Scripps Institute of Oceanography, Ice Core Lab

On Friday, September 26th, we went to the Scripps Institute of Oceanography to see their ice core lab. We were met by Dr. Jeff Severinghaus.(We had seen him on video at the Birch Aquarium.)

The first place we went was the lab itself where they take the air out of the ice and process it to measure the amount of CO2 inside. We looked at all their equipment, it was very cool! (See pics below). They had to be very careful so they didn’t get any “new CO2” in the ice.

Then they showed some of the big cores that they had drilled from the west Antarctica ice shelf. They couldn’t tell us what year the snow that formed the ice fell, because they measured it’s age in meters! They also let us hold some ice which was “600 meters” old! If you think about it, the Vikings could have breathed the very same air! If you looked very closely you could see the bubbles.

After that we went to the freezer where they stored the cores. As soon as we got bundled up in coats and jackets we went inside. First we went into a entry chamber which was warmer that than the freezer itself. It was to keep the cold contained inside the freezer. There it was at the freezing point. Then we went into the freezer itself. In there it was less than -15! After a few minutes of shivering on of our team members asked, “Has one of your students ever tried to stick their tongue to the wall?” We all laughed. A litte later we left, feeling very satisfied. Click here to read more details about what we learned.

Written By Ciara