Antarctica: a scientific mission in the Antarctic ice to understand our future on Earth

On 16 November, a team of researchers and drilling technicians will set off from Christchurch (NZ) to Antarctica to carry out the international project called SWAIS2C (Sensitivity of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet to Two Degrees of Warming) to determine whether the Ross Ice Shelf and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, known as WAIS, will melt at an expected global average temperature of +2°C compared to pre-industrial times.

To achieve this goal, drilling will be carried out to a depth of approximately 200 metres below the seafloor to recover sediment cores that contain traces of the environmental changes under which they were formed, in the hope that they will provide information about the history of West Antarctica and the future of our planet. Field operations in Antarctica will begin in November 2023 at Kamb Glacier and continue until 2024.

For Italy, the INGV (National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology) plays an important and leading role in the SWAIS2C project, as it acts as a "Contributing Party". Researchers from various Italian universities and research institutions have also taken part in the project, including the University of Trieste and OGS.