An ice core from Australia’s Antarctic Territory has been used to illustrate how information on past human activity can help to inform future events. Australian Antarctic Division researcher, Dr Tessa Vance, presented the ice core at the Australia 2020 Summit at Parliament House, Canberra on the weekend.

The Governor-General, His Excellency Major General Michael Jeffrey, told delegates the ice core is part of an 80-thousand year record of activity on the planet.

Internationally recognised scientists from the Australian Antarctic Division have been examining ice cores for changes to the biosphere and atmosphere for many years. Ice cores tell us about natural events such as the volcanic eruptions of Krakatoa in 1883, Tambora in 1815 and other cataclysmic events. They also tell us the story of the impacts on the environment from human activity.

Since the Industrial Revolution, we have changed the composition of the atmosphere far beyond any natural phenomenon seen in more than 600,000 years. In offering up the secrets of our past, ice cores also inform our present and future.