Victoria University of Wellington and GNS Science
RICE is an international collaboration between New Zealand, Australia, Denmark, Germany, Italy, People Republic of China, Sweden, United Kingdom, and United States of America. The aim of the project is to interpret an ice core from Roosevelt Island to determine the stability of the Ross Ice Shelf and West Antarctica in a warming world.
During the 2011/12 and 2012/13 field season, the international RICE team recovered a 764m deep ice core, reaching bedrock on 20 December 2012. The RICE ice core is to date the highest quality core recovered from the brittle ice zone, which enables the team to study this section of the core (350-764m) also with exceptionally high resolution. This success is attributed to the newly designed hydraulic system in the New Zealand ice core drilling system, which allows for higher precision core penetration and lower impact core breaks.
From May to July 2013, the RICE team processed already the top 500m of the core in the National Ice Core Facility at GNS Science in Lower Hutt. Over 60,000 samples were collected and seven instruments provided extremely high resolution, continuous flow analyses as the ice was processed. The data confirmed that the ice at the bottom is at least 40,000 years old and that annual resolution will be achieved for at least the last 20,000 years.
The 2013/14 field season focuses on the pull out of the remaining ~70,000 lbs of cargo and fuel from Roosevelt Island. In addition, led by Darcy Mandeno, the NZ/US/UK team will carry out borehole and mass balance measurements and final ground penetrating radar surveys.