Ice Core Facility Renovation

Ice Core Facility Renovation


Preserve our past and protect our future

Ice cores hold the key to understanding our changing environment.

The Byrd Center conducts world-class research in polar and alpine climate science. The Center’s facility houses 4.5 miles of ice core samples from around the globe, including some from glaciers that no longer exist, enabling researchers to better understand our past in a way that is directly affecting environmental and public health issues.

You can help our scientists preserve these essential ice core samples by giving to the Ice Core Facility Renovation Fund.  This facility is over 30 years old and is in desperate need of renovationPlease click here to see images of the current state of the facility.    

Your generosity will ensure we document Earth’s climate history while maintaining a frozen archive for the next generation of scientists.

Make your gift today.


Project Overview

Our current freezers maintain the collection of ice cores recovered from glaciers around the world at –30ºF. These freezers have been in continuous operation since 1989 and are currently at capacity with approximately 4.5 miles of ice drilled over 64 expeditions. A feasibility study conducted by SHP Leading Design recommends renovation of the existing freezers as well as the phased addition of four freezers that will utilize more modern technologies and efficiencies. This will help Ohio State meet its sustainability goals by increasing energy efficiency while supporting world-class research.

Expansion includes new freezers, new workrooms, new mechanical equipment, shelving and renovation of some existing rooms. The expansion will hold 6,776 additional cores and feature a new educational space with displays and accommodations for groups touring the facility. This project has a $7 million budget.

The Ice Core Research Expansion will:

  • Increase Ice Core Storage (Currently at Capacity)
    doubling our current ice core storage capacity to 13,552 meter long sections of core
  • Inspire the Next Generation of Scientists
    creating a dedicated educational space for tours where all ages, including K-12+ students, can learn through hands on activities and observations
  • Enhance Research Lab Space
    providing safe, controlled environments in which the team conducts its research

Our Research

70% of Earth’s population lives in and around the Tropics. Thus, it is important to understand both the past natural tropical climatic variability and the drivers of the current accelerating loss of glaciers on tropical mountain ranges. The ongoing loss of these glaciers has serious implications for water resources and the nearly 2 billion people who live in these regions.

Ohio State's Ice Core Facility is the only place in the world where ice from many of these vanishing glaciers still exists. Future generations of scientists will deploy new methods and technologies to answer questions about our future informed by this glacial archive. But this will happen only if we have facilities with conditions to properly preserve the existing collection and additional space to house unique ice cores acquired from remote mountains before they disappear from nature permanently.

The Ice Core Paleoclimatology Research Group at Ohio State drilled the world's first deep tropical ice cores in 1983 on the summit of the Quelccaya ice cap in the southern Andes of Peru. Since then, many more ice cores have been obtained from glaciers such as Kilimanjaro (Tanzania); Sajama (Bolivia); Huascarán, Coropuna and Hualcán (Peru); and five sites in the Third Pole (Tibetan Plateau) region. The research group has recently launched new research programs to study the evolution of bacteria and viruses which have been preserved in ice for millennia, allowing scientists to address how their evolution has proceeded over the last million years.

34 world firsts for the Byrd Center's Ice Core Paleoclimatology Group at OSU.

Press Coverage


Learn More

To learn more, please review the Ice Core Facility Renovation Brochure (PDF), the Byrd Advisory Board Joint Statement on Ice Core Facility Renovation (PDF) and the Ice Core Facility Renovation FAQ (PDF).

To meet the research team, view the facilities or learn more about this campaign, please contact:

Michele Cook
Phone: (614) 292-7972