Antarctica

ANDRILL International

ANDRILL (ANtarctic geological DRILLing): International study to recover stratigraphic data from the Antarctic margin

ANDRILL National

New Zealand contributes scientific and logistic leadership to the ANDRILL program. Our current national efforts continue a strong tradition of scientific and technological achievement in Antarctic geological drilling.

Coulman High Project

The Coulman High Project is a current drilling effort along the continental margin of Antarctica

Understanding the past history of Antarctica

The icy continent plays an important role in the climate system, and the stability of its main ice sheets has large implications on global sea level. It is therefore no surprise that scientists strive to derive accurate records of past climate variability from this remote location.

This has been done successfully along two main lines of investigation:

  • Sediment drilling programs (Cape Roberts Project, ANDRILL, etc) targeting the fringes of the ice sheets, where they meet the Southern Ocean, aiming to study the stability of ice sheets and reconstruct the long-term history of Antarctica and how and when it became glaciated; and
  • Ice core studies (Vostok, EPICA, and many others) recovering some of the best available past climate records covering the last million years, and providing insights on climate mechanisms at past glacial terminations (including CO2 measurements from ice bubbles trapping "samples" of past atmosphere).

New Zealand has been (and still is) strongly involved in leading and participating in many of these international projects. Here we showcase our participation in ANDRILL and in the recently started Coulman High project.