Travel to some of the coldest places on earth has been growing, especially Antarctica, but some of the travelers are not on vacation, but on a time-driven mission to save samples of ancient Arctic ice that can provide key information on Earth's climate and the impact of human life.
Eight researchers from the Ice Memory Foundation, including French, Italian and Norwegian participants, have been at work in Norway's Svalbard archipelago, drilling out ice cores 50 to 5 meters long, to be studied and stored in the coldest areas of Antarctica—literally the other end of the world.
Despite starting in temperatures too cold to drill and then finding water leakage inside the icecap they were drilling, the crew was able to complete three cores. Two have been retrieved; a third waits for better weather to move it.
The work has taken on added urgency with a UN report last week that the world's forty or so 'reference glaciers' are more than 26 meters thinner now on average than in 1970. The reference glaciers are a listed group for which long-term observations exist.