In a segment of the BBC’s The Forum dedicated to ice and new frontiers in climate science, Dartmouth’s Mary Albert, a professor of engineering at Thayer School of Engineering and the executive director of the U.S. Ice Drilling Program Office, discusses the critical role studying ice plays in understanding the climate’s past and future.

“The ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica serve as the memory of the past,” Albert tells the BBC. “They actually hold secrets to what happened in the past that as detectives we can investigate to find out how the climate changes in the past may affect our future.”

Within the field of ice core science, discoveries have been made about “abrupt climate change,” says Albert. “Thirty years ago, climate scientists thought that climate behaved like very slow moving animals, happening over millions of years. But we’ve since discovered that climate can change abruptly, in less than 10 years. Well within a human life span, huge changes can happen and in fact have happened naturally in the past.”

Listen to the full story, broadcast 2/16/13 on BBC.

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