SDSU group studies ice from Antarctica - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

SDSU group studies ice from Antarctica

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What's in the rows of tubes has weathered the test of time. It came from West Antarctica, and it required a drill to study.

"Essentially it bores into the ground and brings up the cylinders of ice we call ice cores," said Jihong Cole-Dai, a South Dakota State University chemistry professor. "So, the ice cores are essentially old snow that has accumulated over many thousands of years."

The ice cores are 60-70,000 years old, and SDSU is part of a national project studying the ice core's chemical composition.

"What was happening at that time. We can do this almost year by year, so we can get a 70,000 year history of the conditions: weather conditions and atmospheric conditions and what was in the air," said Cole-Dai.

Professor Cole-Dai says by studying the ice cores people will better understand climate changes.

"Be able to develop some type of model to predict what the earth's climate is going to do in the future," said doctoral student Kari Peterson.

While predicting the earth's future is intriguing, Professor Cole-Dai says watching his students learn is the most gratifying.

"They actually do the analysis, they handle the ice, work in the lab and that to be as an educator is very important."

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