An international team of scientists is currently evaluating sediment cores collected during the Arctic Coring Expedition, ACEX, conducted under the auspices of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP). ACEX, conducted in August and September this year, is an exploration success story. At a press conference in the University of Bremen, Germany, today (16 November 2004) the co-chief scientists of the expedition described the first results from this expedition.
Scientists from ten countries gathered in Bremen over the last two weeks. They analyzed sediment cores from 430 metres beneath the Arctic Ocean sea-floor. These cores reveal new insights into the past climate of the Arctic. Preliminary results show that the ACEX recovered the first ever climate record of the Arctic Ocean over the past 56 million years. Co-chief scientists Kate Moran, University of Rhode Island, and Jan Backman, Stockholm University, described key findings.
The Arctic Ocean was frozen much earlier than previoulsy thought. Professor Moran said that “we are trying to define the exact time when ice appeared but it seems clear that perennial ice existed as early as 15 million years ago”. Professor Jan Backman added that these results would become more precise over the next few months and “we have cores that will hopefully allow us to distinguish between seasonal (winter only) ice and perennial ice”.
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