Reliability of ice-core science: historical insights

R. B. Alley

Journal of Glaciology (1 December 2010)

DOI: 10.3189/002214311796406130

Ice cores are remarkably faithful recorders of past climate, providing multiply duplicated reconstructions with small and quantifiable uncertainties. Ice-core reconstructions in general do not rely on assumed quantitative time-invariance of empirical calibrations between climate and sedimentary characteristics, but instead rely on assuming little more than the constancy of physical law over time. The history of some of the discoveries that allow these ice-core climatic reconstructions is instructive for students, citizens and policymakers. Much important ice-core science was published in the Journal of Glaciology and the Annals of Glaciology, with scientific impacts much larger than indicated by mere citation counts.

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