Radioactive dating in antartic
In extreme climates the snow remains all year, with each year's snow contribution being sealed with each subsequent year's snow accumulation.
This means that all this information trapped in the snow is being captured and sealed in place.
Scientists can use other methods to try and determine past climates, but ice cores provide continuous, direct, high resolution information which can provide annual, as well as seasonal information.
This ice section contains 11 annual layers, which are illuminated with special lighting to show the narrower summer layers (farrowed) sandwiched between darker wider winter layers. Image from the following article: Rapid Cenozoic glaciation of Antarctica induced by declining atmospheric CO2; Robert M.
De Conto and David Pollard; Nature 421, 245-249(16 January 2003); doi:10.1038/nature01290 While the majority of partners involved in this project are focused on airborne geophysical measures of the area, the Chinese have completed several overland traverses by tractor to the project site, Dome A.
By flying a series of long flight lines between Lake Vostok and the Gamburtsev Mountains we can connect the radar data from this missing interior area to Lake Vostok's existing data.
This data will be available to assist China in selecting where to drill their ice core.They plan to construct a science research base in this area and complete a series of studies, including drilling the Earth's oldest ice core, in order to examine climate history for the last 1.2 to 1.5 million years. Glaciers begin to form in areas where there is sufficient snow, and the area is cold enough for snow to remain on the ground year-round.