Sunday, January 21, 2024

Capturing lost data (two or three hundred years) after the fact

 Combatant Col
(based on a Bastian Fleury photo in the Globe and Mail, November 22, 2023)

Charlene Brown

The calculations in my last blog post were based on comprehensive high-altitude precipitation and temperature data collected in the Swiss Alps for over 150 years.

Unfortunately, with few exceptions (eg. Illecillewaet Glacier)  such consistent historic data is not available in North America.

However, early results from research in the Combatant Col, a ‘saddle’ of snow and ice between Mt. Waddington and Mt. Combatant in British Columbia, show it will likely be possible to obtain useful historic climate information going back two or three hundred years.

Glaciologists drilled down more than 200 metres from an elevation of 3000 metres, and shipped one-metre sections of the compacted ice core by helicopter and reefer truck to the Canadian Ice Core Laboratory at the University of Alberta.

Although the ice in these samples is not as old as that in cores obtained on Mt. Logan in the Yukon, coming from about 51 degrees N latitude, the Combatant data relates to the Anthropocene climate effects in more densely populated areas.