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Work of UNH Climate Change Scientists Featured at NY's American Museum of Natural History
NEW YORK -- Climate change research by University of New Hampshire scientists will be featured in a new exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History.

The museum's Rose Center for Earth and Space unveils the Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth Wednesday, June 9. On hand for the opening will be Paul Mayewski, director of the UNH Climate Change Research Center, along with center colleagues Mark Twickler and David Meeker.

The UNH Climate Change Research Center is located within the university's Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans and Space, and has established an international reputation in the field of climate change.

Using ice cores as historical records of climate change, Mayewski and his team have conducted research in Antarctica, Greenland and the Canadian Arctic, as well as the Himalayas. Later this year, Mayewski will lead the International Trans-Antarctic Scientific Expedition (ITASE), with participants from France, China, Japan, Brazil, Germany, Australia, Russia and other nations. Its goal: retrieving a continent-wide, 200-year record of past Antarctic climate and environmental change.

Some of the best known early exhibits at the American Museum of Natural History focused on the natural world of living things, showcasing animals and their natural habitats. The Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth will also put the world on display -- the planet itself. It will tell Earth's dynamic, 4.5-billion-year story, in which continents drift, mountains build, oceans form, glaciers slice through rock and the chemical building blocks for life cycle through the air, oceans, crust and mantle.

"The new ice core display helps demonstrate how exciting it is to be able to go back in time and how lessons from the past can help to guide our thinking in the future," says Mayewski.

In the interior of Greenland, on the Greenland Ice Sheet, Mayewski, Twickler and other scientists drilled through the nearly two kilometer-thick ice sheet. The resulting ice core took five years to extract and records Earth's climate over the past 200,000 years. The chemistry of the ice core reveals past ice ages, the impact of volcanic eruptions on global climate, the onset of the Industrial Revolution, and the passing of the Clean Air Act in 1974 by the United States Congress.

Three meters of this ice core will be displayed in a refrigerated case in the exhibition.

By Carmelle Druchniak
UNH News Bureau