Importance of ice as an archive for climate and environmental changes of the past:
Ice cores from the polar regions and high alpine glaciers play an important role for the reconstruction of the climate history on earth. Old atmospheric gases like carbon dioxide or methane have been stored only in the climate archive ice where their concentrations and ages can be determined.
Until now deep ice cores from East Antarctica provide information about the past 800,000 years. The last ice age and the previous interglacial, approximately the past 100,000 to 130,000 years, are included in ice cores from West Antarctica and Greenland.
In addition, ice cores from high alpine areas and arctic ice caps provide information about the past 100 to 2,000 years. During the past two decades technical improvements to measure the content of stable isotopes in the water molecule and trace elements included in ice enabled us to get a much higher time resolution than it was possible in earlier investigations.