Today we would like to summarise what’s happened so far.
As you might have guessed, the group of researchers has left the summit glacier of the Ortler mountain where perforation activities had been taking place. They took down all structures beginning the afternoon of 6 October and left the site the following morning. The helicopter had to make 20 return flights in order to bring all the material down to the valley, including the four precious ice cores which had been extracted during four separate operations.
During the fourth and final perforation, it was NOT possible to reach the rock on which the glacier lies as had been achieved the first three times. Since there was too much melting water inside the hole, a fact that made operations more difficult, the perforation had to be stopped at about 10 meters from the rock. This and the worsening meteorological conditions led the researchers to decide to leave the glacier.
The game ends with a final score of 3-1, as in all the best soccer matches…
A few days ago, the group of researchers from Ohio State University returned to the US, while the Italians are still working in “Prato allo Stelvio”, a village located in the Province of Bolzano at the foot of the Ortler mountain. They have been working on the ice cores for several days in a cold chamber (a sort of big freezer like the ones used for food storage in butcher’s shops).
The term for this kind of work is “processing”, which refers to all operations that permit cataloguing and cutting of the ice cores available. Two lengthwise cuts are made: first the ice core is halved, and then one of the two pieces is halved again. The outcome is a sort of T-shape. This work has been done on 2 of the 4 ice cores extracted so far and has been keeping the researchers busy for several days. The picture published shows that the long period spent in the cold chamber has not dampened the good mood of the researchers, who are obviously happy that the research has, so far, yielded excellent results.
From now on, these pieces of ice, which are in reality important witnesses to past climatic conditions, will begin a long journey which will lead them first to the freezers of the participant organizations. Then each single part of them will be analysed in order to add knowledge to the history of the climatic system of our planet.
Below is a list of material which is already available on the web that talks about our project:
– www.climalteranti.it : A popular webpage which describes the progress of climatic research. There you will find this post.
– A feature on the news programme of the channel TCA Alto Adige (from 13’ 05” onwards)
– A feature on the newscast of RAI TGR Trentino Alto Adige (from 8’ 10” onwards)