Bo Vinther receives 7 million kroner from the Research Council for ice core research – University of Copenhagen

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06 February 2014

Bo Vinther receives 7 million kroner from the Research Council for ice core research

Bo Vinther, associate professor in the research group Ice and Climate at the Niels Bohr Institute, has received a Sapere Aude grant of 7 million kroner from the Danish Council for Independent Research. The grant was awarded for the ice core drilling project, RECAP on Renland in East Greenland. 

Bo Vinther, associate professor in the research group Ice and Climate at the Niels Bohr Institute, has received a Sapere Aude grant of 7 million kroner from the Danish Council for Independent Research. The grant was awarded for the ice core drilling project, RECAP on Renland in East Greenland.

“The ice at Renland is particularly interesting to study because of its location on the coast of East Greenland, where the climate is affected by the Arctic sea ice that is driven down along the coast. The distribution of sea ice is closely linked to climate change and we can therefore study past climate change in the ice from Renland,” explains Bo Møllesøe Vinter.

The ice sheet is located on the peninsula Renland in the Scoresby Sund fjord in East Greenland. Here the researchers will drill an ice core all the way through to the bottom of the ice sheet and will analyze each annual layer.  Bo Vinther explains that what is special about the ice at Renland is that it is very stable, so the annual layers back in time will be uninterrupted almost all the down to the underlying ground.

The ice is formed from snow that falls and remains from year to year and is gradually compressed into ice. There is a lot of precipitation on Renland, with around 1½ meters of snow falling each year. The ice itself is only 400 meters thick, but it still contains ice layers that the researchers expect to stretch 100,000 years back in time. This is due its location, as the ice lies on a plateau at an altitude of 2,000 meters surrounded by mountains.

The Arctic sea ice is changing rapidly. The prevalence of permanent sea ice has been 30-50% lower over the past 35 years. So the question is whether the Arctic sea ice will disappear in a future with global warming, as it did several times in the North Atlantic during the last ice age. It could be crucial for the climate in most of the northern hemisphere.

The ice sheet is located on the peninsula Renland in the Scoresby Sund fjord in East Greenland. Here the researchers will drill an ice core all the way through to the bottom of the ice sheet and will analyze each annual layer. Bo Vinther explains that what is special about the ice at Renland is that it is very stable, so the annual layers back in time will be uninterrupted almost all the down to the underlying ground.

The Sapere Aude grant is for three years from January 2014 to December 2016 and will make it possible to hire a logistics coordinator and a postdoc. The grant will also contribute logistics cost of the drilling itself, to be carried out over two months in the summer of 2015. There will be 12 people in the camp during the field season. 

A total of 27 researchers from around the country received the Danish Council for Independent Research’s Sapere Aude research grant. Grant recipients will be honoured at ceremony at the EliteForsk Conference at the Glyptotek  on the 6 February 2014.

Read about the RECAP project >>