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World-Class Ice Core Facility For Climate Research

NZ To Get World-Class Ice Core Facility For Climate Research

New Zealand is to get a world-class research laboratory for studying climate history in the Southern Hemisphere. It will be used for storage and analysis of Antarctic and New Zealand glacial ice cores, which are indicators of climate change.

GNS Science will build and operate the facility in Lower Hutt after the organisation's Board of Directors approved an investment of $1.3 million in the facility and associated research laboratories

GNS Science Chief Executive, Alex Malahoff, said the facility had the backing of Antarctica New Zealand, Victoria University, and the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), who would work with GNS Science to ensure it was used optimally for the benefit of New Zealand.

" The facility will invigorate climate research not only in New
Zealand, but internationally," Dr Malahoff said.

" It will provide information and interpretation for global climate modelling that will underpin international climate protocols. It will be one of the cornerstones of the Joint Antarctic Research Institute, recently set up between GNS Science and Victoria University.

" Through our work in Antarctica and on New Zealand's glaciers, GNS
Science already has a strong track record in climate research."

The facility would be adjacent to GNS Science's National Isotope Centre at Gracefield, Lower Hutt, to take advantage of the NIC's specialist chemical, mineralogical, and isotopic analysis capabilities used in climate research.

Frank Bruhn, General Manager and Director of the NIC, said construction of the purpose-built facility, the only one of its type in New Zealand, would start immediately and it would be commissioned at the end of this calendar year.

" The facility is designed to ensure the safe, long-term storage of hundreds of metres of ice core retrieved from Antarctica and New Zealand glaciers for climate research," Dr Bruhn said.

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The facility would be able to store ice cores down to minus 30degC.
This would ensure they could be held for long periods without the risk of deterioration.

" Development of the facility is timely as we have climate research programmes underway that will retrieve hundreds of metres of ice cores during the next five years."

Dr Bruhn said ice cores stored chronological records that enabled scientists to study climatic changes in the past, particularly changes in temperature, rainfall, and atmospheric circulation.

" These are basic inputs into any projection and modelling of future climate change, both in New Zealand and on a global scale."

Dr Bruhn said the new facility would enable GNS Science to expand its collaborative research and offer analysis and scientific expertise in the environment and groundwater areas on a commercial basis to a range of clients such as territorial authorities and other research organisations.

END

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