Oral history of British science

Wolff, Eric (Part 7 of 12) An Oral History of British Science

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  • Type


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  • Subjects

    Climate Change Science

  • Recording date


  • Recording locations

    British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge

  • Interviewees

    Wolff, Eric, 1957- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Merchant, Paul (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 7: [57:34] Comments on extent of interest in climate change within BAS, early 1990s, including tendency for BAS publicity to focus on ozone hole; development of interest in climate change in BAS; first use of ice cores in public displays, late 1990s; depth at which ice contains sealed off bubbles. [6:32] Mentions membership of CND, Greenpeace, FOE. Detailed comments on reasons for not wishing, as a scientist, to be actively involved in environmental groups concerned with climate change. Story of involvement in Royston CND group, including production of report visualising effects of nuclear war on Royston, participation in national demonstrations. [11:24] Comments on development of automated air sampler [AAS] for use in Antarctica, including role of research student Julie Hall. [13:36] Description of BAS ice core drilling in Antarctica, including 100 metre drill in AP. Mentions reconnaissance of suitable sites for deep drilling in Antarctica. Comments on AAS tested in HB, 1994/1995; difficulties of running AAS through Antarctic winter. [17:44] Story of identifying sites for deep drilling, Antarctica, including use of radio-echo sounding [RES] by Aero-geophysics Group and determination of snowfall rates in shallow cores, by RM. Mentions chosen site in Dronning Maud Land [DML]. [23:50] Brief story of own work in 1990s on sea salt in ice cores/chemistry of surface of sea ice, including role of research student Andy Rankin. Story of development of electron-microscopic studies of impurities in ice, 1990s. [28:47] Comments on perception of self as reductionist, tending to focus on smallest possible scale, in contrast to Earth system approach. [30:57] Comments on own focus on impurities in ice. [33:35] Story of development of EPICA [European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica] project, by members of GRIP, through European Science Foundation’s [ESF] ‘European Glaciology Project’, including role of self/DP. Description of decisions made in planning for EPICA. Comments on aims of EPICA, involving deep drilling at Dome C and drilling for high resolution sampling at DML. Mentions third BAS/French drilling on Berkner Island. [38:43] Brief description of three levels of BAS drilling capability. Mentions promotion to Principal Investigator [PI], BAS. [40:15] Further comments on decisions made by EPICA steering committee. Comments on reasons why ice cores tend to be cut to 55 centimetres long. Mentions longer lengths cut at DML. Comments on use of commercial storage boxes, cold rooms, band-saws in ice core drilling. [48:04] Comments on BAS funding contribution to EPICA. Mentions own role as leader of field season 1997/1998 at Dome C. Story of building drilling tent and shelter for core processing, Dome C.

  • Description

    Interview with glaciologist Eric Wolff

  • Related transcripts

    Eric Wolff interviewed by Paul Merchant: full transcript of the interview

  • Related links

    Visit this interviewee's page on the 'Voices of Science' web resource

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