“Research and the mountains don’t have finish lines, but paths with milestones that we’re fortunate enough to be able to share. On this journey, we’ve had the good fortune to meet the staff of the ‘Ice Memory’ research project, with whom we’ve gradually begun to collaborate over the years, and our commitment is becoming more substantial today, now that activity in the field is becoming the priority of the project. Research has always been an element that has characterized our history at Karpos. We’ve always tried to make full use of our manufacturing experience to develop innovative solutions with our athletes and ambassadors, to keep pushing forward beyond what are sometimes perceived as limits. The mountains are the training ground where we design and create our products, and companions on adventures that bring us unparalleled emotions in every corner of the world. The mountains transform those who experience them, and for this reason we must protect and preserve them for ourselves and for our children.” – Gioia Cremonese, Business Unit Director, Karpos
The international Ice Memory project, recognized and supported by the UNESCO National Commissions of Italy and France, aims to collect ice cores from the most significant mountain glaciers in the world currently at risk of disappearing due to global warming. The mountain areas of our planet are in fact particularly sensitive to climate change and, at the current rate, scientists predict the total disappearance of most of the glaciers in the Alps below 3,600 meters’ elevation by 2100.
The study of ice cores allows us to better understand our climate and environment, provides us with fundamental data on the global physical context, and gives us important information on the need to monitor and mitigate the consequences of climate change. In fact, every layer of ice contains information on the climatic and environmental conditions at the time the snow settled, allowing us to study both atmospheric processes and their consequences.
So, in addition to the well-known impact in terms of water resources, the environment, and alpine ecosystems, the melting of a glacier involves the loss of valuable information on the climate and environment of the past. A past spanning centuries or millennia, depending on the glacier.
The history of our Alps, our mountains, and our people is held in the ice, as if its crystals were the pages of a unique ancient manuscript preserved in a frozen library. The Ice Memory project was launched to prevent the loss of a significant amount of valuable information that is critical for the study of climate change.
The drilled samples will be transferred to Antarctica, the coldest place on the planet. There, at the Italian-French base of Concordia, located in the center of the Antarctic plateau, at more than 3,200 meters’ elevation, they will be preserved as in a sanctuary, in what is the most reliable (and natural!) freezer in the world, with its average annual temperature of -54.5°C. A project that is a true mission and, now, a real race against time.
The project is led in Italy by the Institute of Polar Sciences of the National Research Council and Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, together with the National Research Project in Antarctica (PNRA). At the international level, it involves the Université Grenoble Alpes (UGA) Foundation in France, the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD), the French Polar Institute (IPEV), and the Swiss research center Paul Scherrer Institute.
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