Joe McConnell - ice core handler

Joe McConnell
Dr Joe McConnell from the Desert Research Institute in the US will analyse atmospheric aerosols in the Aurora Basin ice core.

Director of the Ultra-Trace Ice Core Chemistry Laboratory, Desert Research Institute, Reno, Nevada, USA

My primary scientific interest is in the ~4000 year history of atmospheric aerosols that we will recover from the Aurora Basin ice core using our state-of-the-art continuous ice core analytical system at the Desert Research Institute in Reno. By aerosols, I mean very small particles and droplets in the air that are deposited in or on the ice sheet surface. Sources of aerosols include continental dust, sea spray, and emissions from forest fires, volcanic eruptions and, more recently, industrial activities. These analyses will help date the ice core and provide information about natural aerosols and pollution levels over time.

In the field, I will be cutting and bagging the many samples that will be sent to various labs around Australia and the world for analyses.

Career highlights

I am trained as a geophysicist and snow hydrologist. I have been working in the area of snow hydrology and measuring and studying ice cores for the past 15 years. Prior to this, I spent nearly a decade working in the oil business, before returning to University to complete a PhD and switch to environmental science. Most of my time in the oil business was spent overseas, including long-term assignments in China, England, and Greenland.