What Ice Cores Record

Part of Hall of Planet Earth.

Ice core section of the Hall of Planet Earth AMNH/D. Finnin

This graph shows 110,000 years of temperature derived from the Greenland ice core modeled here, called GISP2. For most of this time, Earth was in an ice age. Greenland climate was much colder than today, but subject to rapid climate swings. The last 10,000 years, however, have been marked by relative warmth and stability. High-resolution records from GISP2 and other ice cores enable scientists to study past climate in detail. 


Scientists at Work: Greenland Ice Core

The Greenland Ice Core holds a detailed record of climate for the last 115,000 years. Records such as this are important for understanding how the Earth's climate works. The Greenland Ice Sheet Project 2 (GISP 2) collected ice core samples from 1989 to 1993 in collaboration with 20 U.S. research institutions.

In this video, Dr. Rosamond Kinzler from the American Museum of Natural History tours the underground laboratory in Summit, Greenland with Mark Twickler, and the GISP 2 facility at the University of New Hampshire with Dr. Paul Mayewski.


This video was produced in 1999 for the David S. and Ruth L. Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth at the American Museum of Natural History.

Video credits:
American Museum of Natural History
Ballentyne Brumble Communications
Planet Earth - The Climate Puzzle, WQED Pittsburgh
Lake Michigan Research, Ball State University, Thomas McComish
iXL, The Video Library
Best of Nature - Greenland Science, Discovery Communications, Inc.
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Tree-Ring Laboratory, Gordon C. Jacoby