Greg Niemeyer Creates Ice Core Walk Project for Earth Day

09 Apr, 2018

Greg Niemeyer Creates Ice Core Walk Project for Earth Day

In celebration of Earth day, BCNM faculty Greg Niemeyer initiated the Ice Core Walk Project in collaboration with Liz Carlisle, Chris Chafe, et al. and with UC Berkeley Data Science student Mike Ghaussy.

The Ice Core Walk Project is a self-guided audio tour where users can "virtually walk down the data" of the past 800,000 years of our planet's climate history. The data developed in part at the Berkeley Institute of Data Science, taking information from a core sample of ice over Lake Vostok — a section of ice in Antarctica that has air bubbles trapped in it. Each step the user takes is equivalent to hundreds of years.

Stream or download the story and sonification of climate data from UC Berkeley Greg Niemeyer's Ice Core Walk website to your phone, plug in your headphones, and walk any path of your choice for 2 miles (3 km). That's the length of the Lake Vostok ice core. The deepest layer of the core was frozen 800,000 years ago. By analyzing the air bubbles, scientists are able to tell exactly how much CO2 was in the atmosphere, and what the average temperature on Earth was. The data speaks of many ice ages, and of course shows changes in CO2 and temperature in the recent past as well.

Along the way, author and country singer Liz Carlisle shares stories about major events in the planet's history. With each step, you cover about 200 years of Earth's history, and after a 30 minute walk, you arrive in the present day. You will witness an astounding finish as CO2 and Temperature reach new heights.

Visit the official website for more information and use the hashtag #icecorewalk to join in on the conversation.