by Holli Riebeek· design by Robert Simmon· December 19, 2005 Richard Alley might have envied paleoceanographer Jerry Mc Manus’ warm, ship-board lab.
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Soon after their demise, beginning in 1499, the Portuguese briefly explored and claimed the island, naming it Terra do Lavrador (later applied to Labrador in Canada).
In the early 18th century, Scandinavian explorers reached Greenland again.
Through analysis of ice cores, scientists learn about glacial-interglacial cycles, changing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, and climate stability over the last 10,000 years. This picture shows a traversing field camp from December 2010.
From top to bottom: * Levels of carbon dioxide (CO2). High rates of snow accumulation provide excellent time resolution, and bubbles in the ice core preserve actual samples of the world’s ancient atmosphere.
) is an autonomous constituent country within the Kingdom of Denmark between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.
Though physiographically a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically and culturally associated with Europe (specifically Norway and Denmark, the colonial powers, as well as the nearby island of Iceland) for more than a millennium.
An ice core is a cylindrical sample of a rocky object consisting mostly of water ice.
As shown in the image at the right, the long axis is in the direction of the coring into the object from its outer surface.
The season turns cold and dark again, and more snow falls, forming the next layers of snow.
Each layer gives scientists a treasure trove of information about the climate each year.
By looking at past concentrations of greenhouse gasses in layers in ice cores, scientists can calculate how modern amounts of carbon dioxide and methane compare to those of the past, and, essentially, compare past concentrations of greenhouse gasses to temperature. Ice cores have been drilled in ice sheets worldwide, but notably in Greenland and Antarctica[4, 5].