The Mount Brown South ice-core drilling project in East Antarctica was successfully completed in the 2017/2018 summer season. Mount Brown is located approximately 340km from Davis station and at an elevation of over 2000 metres on the East Antarctic Plateau. The field project involved a team of eight who lived in tents and battled intense katabatic winds to retrieve the new ice core.
The field team comprised researchers from Australia, Denmark and Canada, including CLEX CI Nerilie Abram. They recovered a 295m deep ice core, which is expected to provide a 1000-year long, annually-resolved climate history for the southern Indian Ocean sector of Antarctica. This will be a valuable complement to the existing Law Dome ice core in testing the climate processes that influence Australian rainfall and temperature extremes, and how they have varied in response to both human and natural climate changes.
The team also drilled a further 65m of shallow cores to test replication of the climate signal in the ice over the period of time covered by satellite climate observations, and collected ApRes, GPS and borehole temperature data to characterise ice dynamics at the site. Australian Antarctic Division aircraft (Twin Otter, Basler planes and Squirrel helicopters) and operations teams working out of Davis and Casey stations provided logistical support for the project.