The Air Liquide Foundation has allocated a €100,000 ($114,000) grant to pay some of the expenses of the Grenoble Alps University Foundation’s ‘ICE MEMORY’ project which aims to create sanctuary for high-altitude glacier ice cores in Antarctica.
The ice from mountain glaciers is a treasure trove of information on past changes in climate and the environment, from temperature variations to greenhouse gas concentrations and pollutants, etc. Over the last few decades, non-polar ice core drilling has allowed scientists to study the recent climate in great detail.
In addition, non-polar ice core drilling has provided unique insight into the increase in pollution over the past century, illustrating regional variations and characterising the origin of this pollution.
Unfortunately, in certain regions of the world, we are observing the inexorable melting of glaciers, and these extremely fragile frozen archives are now at risk. Their quality is being affected by global warming, and eventually, they will simply disappear altogether.
The ICE MEMORY project, with Air Liquide’s support, aims to allow future generations of scientists to continue to analyse them. Ice memory’s international team plans to drill 20 glaciers over the next two decades, with the first boreholes in France, Bolivia and Russia.
As well as contributing toward the expense associated with the drilling mission in Bolivia in 2017 and in Russia 2018, the Tier One player has paid for the analysis equipment of the reference ice core samples, as well as for the cost of acquiring containers for the storage cave in Antarctica.
Without this initiative, the scientific innovations of tomorrow will be useless, because the raw material – ice – will no longer be available or will be definitively altered. The aim of this project is, therefore, to create a sanctuary for non-polar ice core samples in Antarctica. Two or three ice cores will be extracted down to the bedrock from each glacier selected. One ice core will be analysed with a view to establishing a reference database. Ice Memory’s initiators wish to preserve the other ice core(s) in a cave dug under the snow in Concordia, the Franco-Italian research station in Antarctica, a veritable natural freezer at -54°C. These ice cores will serve as a raw material to allow future generations to study climate change depending on the progress they make in scientific analyses.
The Air Liquide Foundation has international ambitions and is determined to support projects in every country the the group operates in.
With a budget of €5m ($6m) over five years, the Air Liquide Foundation allocates financial resources, equipment and people to the projects it supports. The Air Liquide Foundation allocates grants of an average of €8,000 ($9,000) for local development micro-initiatives and €50,000 ($57,000) for scientific research projects.