Guest post by David Middleton
A precious collection of ice cores from the Canadian Arctic has suffered a catastrophic meltdown. A freezer failure at a cold storage facility in Edmonton run by the University of Alberta (UA) caused 180 of the meter-long ice cylinders to melt, depriving scientists of some of the oldest records of climate change in Canada’s far north.
The 2 April failure left “pools of water all over the floor and steam in the room,” UA glaciologist Martin Sharp told ScienceInsider. “It was like a changing room in a swimming pool.”
The melted cores represented 12.8% of the collection, which held 1408 samples taken from across the Canadian Arctic. The cores hold air bubbles, dust grains, pollen, and other evidence that can provide crucial information about past climates and environments, and inform predictions about the future.
The storage facility is normally chilled to –37°C. But the…
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