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GEACEP Research Programme

See Also

The Greenhouse to ice-house: Evolution of the Antarctic Cryosphere And Palaeoenvironment (GEACEP) research programme, part of the British Antarctic Survey research strategy Global Science in an Antarctic Context (GSAC) 2005–2009


Greenhouse to ice-house: Evolution of the Antarctic Cryosphere And Palaeoenvironment (GEACEP)

Principal Investigator (acting): Dr Alan Vaughan

The Challenge

GEACEP will investigate the relationship between the evolution of Antarctic ice and the changing global environment over the last ~30 million years (My). We will do so through collecting and combining geological data and developing computer models of the Earth as an integrated system.

The aim is to clarify the forcing and feedback mechanisms responsible for the formation of large-scale Antarctic ice cover, and to examine the stability of the permanent Antarctic ice sheet over its ~20My history. We will use the resulting insights to check and improve the performance of computer models – known as General Circulation Models – used for the prediction of climate change.

Scenery close to Fossil Bluff

Objectives

  • Examine the nature of past warm climates over the last 30My
  • Clarify the forcing and feedback mechanisms associated with the climatic shift from “greenhouse” to “icehouse” conditions ~30My ago
  • Examine the stability of the permanent Antarctic ice sheet over its ~20My history

Relevance to Global Science

The Antarctic has played a critical role in the global climate system for tens of millions of years. GEACEP will assemble reference records over this period from southern high latitudes and a representative number of sites worldwide. We aim to provide new insights into the links between Antarctic ice volume, sea level, ocean circulation and climate. The results will be compared with the outputs of numerical climate models to improve the ability of these models to reproduce past large-scale changes, so improving our ability to predict climate change. 

Delivering the Results

GEACEP will include new field measurements on the history of Antarctic climate and ice sheet fluctuations from the Ross Sea and the Antarctic Peninsula. These data and records from other locations worldwide will be used to test and improve General Circulation Models. GEACEP will have links with CACHE, GRADES, ACES, BIOFLAME and COMPLEXITY.

Component Project

  • GEACEP-ISODYN: Icehouse Earth: Stability Or DYNamism?