Ice cores provide information about past climate and environmental conditions on timescales from decades to hundreds of millennia, and direct records of the composition of the atmosphere. As such, they are cornerstones of global change research. For example, ice cores play a central role in showing how closely climate and greenhouse gas concentrations were linked in the past, and in demonstrating that very abrupt climate switches can occur.
With the completion of major projects in Greenland and Antarctica over the last 15 years, the international ice coring community is planning for the next several decades. The costs and scope of future work create the need for coordinated international collaboration. Developing this international collaboration is the charge of IPICS, the International Partnerships in Ice Core Sciences, a planning group currently composed of ice core scientists, engineers, and drillers from 24 nations. IPICS is supported by SCAR, where it is an Expert Group under the Physical Sciences Group, PAGES (Past Global Changes), and IACS (International Association of Cryospheric Sciences).