Remember that report card you didn’t want your parents to see? And by “too see” I mean that your best grades were “two Cs”?
Well, forget about that – this post will make your old report card pale in comparison.
As reported in Nature’s 28-March-2019 issue, a project called “Beyond EPICA” is slated to start in June of this year and it is going to extract a 1.5-million-year-old report card from the ice below a section of Antarctica called Dome C (see map below in case you want to visit).
EPICA stands for European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica. This is a perfect example of a ‘green-by-definition’ project as we describe in our book Green Project Management.
The idea here is to vastly improve our understanding of our climate by getting an undisturbed record (report card!) of our Earth’s ancient atmosphere. The ice that has accumulated over millennia contains samples of the world’s atmosphere at known dates. This will help us get a more accurate picture of how climate has changed in the past, allowing us to make scientifically accurate predictions of how climate changes match up with atmospheric levels of greenhouse gasses.
From the Beyond EPICA website:
The Beyond EPICA – Oldest Ice (BE-OI) consortium and its international partners unite a globally unique concentration of scientific expertise and infrastructure for ice-core investigations. BE-OI is an EU Coordination and Support Action (CSA). It delivers the technical, scientific and financial basis for a comprehensive plan to retrieve an ice core up to 1.5 million years old in a future project during the Beyond EPICA – Drilling Phase. This would be an important contribution for the future exploration of Antarctica and promises unique insights about climate and the global carbon fluxes. This knowledge will improve future prognoses of climate development with solid quantitative data and will allow establishing more targeted strategies, to cope with the societal challenges of global change.
This project is following the discipline of project management quite strikingly well (excuse the pun).
They have set clear objectives:
- support the site selection through acquisition and synthesis of all necessary information on Antarctic sites through specific geophysical surveys and the use of fast drilling tools to qualify sites and validate the age of their ice;
- select and evaluate the optimum drill site for the future “Oldest Ice” core project and establish a science and management plan for a future drilling;
- coordinate the technical and scientific planning to ensure the availability of the technical means to implement suitable drill systems and analytical methodologies for a future ice-core drilling, and of well-trained personnel to operate them successfully;
- establish the budget and the financial background for a future deep-drilling campaign;
- embed the scientific aims of an “Oldest Ice” core project within the wider paleoclimate data and modelling communities through international and cross-disciplinary cooperation.
They have broken the project in to work packages (in other words they have created a WBS) as follows.
The workpackages of BE-OI combine the different methodological aspects and the consecutive implementation based on the two key regions of interest.
The first three workpackages
cover the objective to "Prepare for site selection". They will consider the acquisition, analysis and evaluation of new data to create the pre-conditions for site selection. The worckpages
are directed towards the planning and implementation of the BE-Drilling Phase.
Here's a video that shows the sort of project environment in which EPICA is taking place:
This project team will have a press conference on 9-April (the day after this post), so you can get the latest directly from the source!
Beyond EPICA will present the decision where to drill for 1.5 million year old ice at:
EGU Press Conference
Tuesday, 9 April, 2019 09:00 CET
Beyond EPICA: The quest for a 1.5 Million year ice core
I’m going to tune in. Maybe it will help me forget about that bad, bad report card from long, long ago.