On December 1, 2011, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide ice core project, funded by the National Science Foundation, reached its final depth of 3405 meters (11,171 feet; over 2 miles), recovering the longest U.S. ice core to date from the polar regions. The 12.2-centimeter (4.8-inch) diameter cylinders of ice that make up the ice core contain uniquely detailed information on past environmental conditions during the last 68,000 years, such as the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases, surface air temperature, wind patterns, the extent of sea ice around Antarctica, and the average temperature of the ocean. Successfully retrieving the ice core is the culmination of an eight-year project to obtain a paleoclimate record from one of the remotest parts of the Antarctic continent. Learn more about WAIS Divide.
Stay up to date with the 2014-15 field season activities at WAIS Divide by reading each week's Situation Report (SITREP).
Investigators from the United States need to submit a proposal to the National Science Foundation (NSF) to obtain ice samples or access the borehole. If you are planning on submitting a proposal to NSF, you must contact the WAIS Divide Science Coordination Office (SCO) before submitting your proposal and obtain a letter from the SCO stating that your proposal is consistent with the WAIS Divide operation plan. In order to initiate this process, investigators must submit a Sample Request Form to the SCO. Sample requests may take up to 6 weeks to process depending on the complexity of the request and other workloads.
If the SCO approves your Sample Request, the SCO will provide you with a Letter of Support stating that your proposal is consistent with the WAIS Divide operation plan. ** This Letter of Support needs to be submitted with your NSF proposal. **
For more information, please read this.