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International Partnership in Ice Core Sciences (IPICS) 2020-22 Report
Expert Group of the Physical Science Group
Report Author(s): Tas van Ommen (Australia); Hubertus Fischer (Switzerland)
Summary of activities from 2020-22
Implementing and developing the IPICS science plan: Further progress has been made in the implementation of Oldest Ice core drillings in Antarctica with the goal to retrieve an ice core reaching back in time 1.5 Myr, i.e., across the Mid Pleistocene Transition. Several national projects have now been started and the US-NSF granted approved the Centre for Oldest Ice Explorations (COLDEX), which will enable targeted large-scale oldest ice activities. The oldest ice core drilling already started within the European Beyond EPICA - Oldest Ice project at Little Dome C. Australia’s Oldest Ice project has selected a site at little Dome C approximately 5 km from the Beyond EPICA site, although planned pilot work onsite was not achieved due to logistical challenges and COVID. Delays in all national projects are to be expected, given the COVID situation. A new IPICS White paper has been added in March 2021 on the PAGES webpage laying out the role of ice-core sciences in the understanding of past and present ice flow.
Capacity Building: In 2021 the first term of the two IPICS chairs came to an end. Both chairs were elected for another 4-year term using an online process. Changes were made to the IPICS Steering Committee composition in 2021 with Kathleen Wendt elected as the new ICYS (the ice core early career research network) representative on the IPICS SC and Francisco Fernandoy replacing Fabrice Lambert as national representative of Chile.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the IPICS Open Science Conference and the ICYS Early Career Researcher (ECR) workshop in Crans Montana, Switzerland, was postponed again to October 2022. The conference will definitely take place in 2022 and abstract submission has closed with more than 280 abstracts received. All funders and partners (including PAGES) kindly agreed to extend their commitment into 2022. The conference will be also followed by joint special issue in The Cryosphere and Climate of the Past. The scientific exchange gap that opened up by this COVID-19 delay was filled most successfully by an online seminar organized by ICYS, the IPICS young scientist organization. The model of this seminar series utilizes the concept of back-on-back presentations of a senior scientist (outlining the history and larger picture) and early-stage researchers (showing latest results); a format that was extremely well received by the audience and regularly draws an audience of 30-50 persons world-wide.