Services

Contact the Science Management Office (SMO) ( nsf.icf.smo at unh.edu ) at least four weeks prior to your proposal submission deadline if you are submitting a proposal that requires any of the following NSF-ICF services:

  1. Sample Requests
  2. Storage of Cores (even if just temporarily)
  3. Use of the Facility (sample cutting, core processing lines)

How to Request Services

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Sample Requests

Sample requests are coordinated through the Science Management Office. Samples are available to investigators, but NSF-funded investigators may be given priority to certain core sections. Non-U.S. scientists and non-National Science Foundation (NSF) funded scientists may be required to have an NSF funded collaborator before they can be given access to certain ice cores. If you have questions, contact Mark Twickler at nsf.icf.smo at unh.edu.

View our INVENTORY for a list of the cores available in the NSF-ICF archive.

Generally there are three types of sample requests:

  1. Pilot studies
  2. Funded proposals
  3. De-accessed ice

1. Pilot Studies

Requests for limited samples are available to qualified investigators for use in pilot studies.

  1. Submit a completed Sample Request/ Facility Use form to the Science Management Office (SMO; nsf.icf.smo at unh.edu ) that includes:

    a concise statement describing the specific problem or objective of the study, the methods and procedures to be used, the samples being requested, and the names and addresses of collaborating investigators.
  2. After discussing the pilot study request with you, the SMO will summarize the request and send it to the Sample Allocation Committee for review (unless the request is for de-accessed ice).
  3. The Sample Allocation Committee will review the pilot study request and either approve it, decline it, or suggest other options.

2. Funded Proposals

The way to access the "most scientifically valuable" cores at the NSF-ICF is through a funded proposal.

  1. Submit a completed Sample Request/ Facility Use form to the Science Management Office (SMO; nsf.icf.smo at unh.edu ) at least four weeks before your proposal submittal deadline
  2. The SMO will provide you with a Letter to include in your proposal as supplemental information
    • The Letter will state that the "samples are available, and if the proposal is funded, the final sample allocation will be determined by the Sample Allocation Committee"
    • The SMO handles your proposal as confidential information. The Sample Allocation Committee will only see your request for samples if your proposal is funded.
  3. If your proposal is funded, the SMO will notify the Sample Allocation Committee (SAC) of your funded proposal and the SAC will determine the final sample allocation
    • The SAC, not the SMO, has the authority to approve sample requests from the NSF-ICF archive

3. De-accessed Ice

There are many cores at the NSF-ICF that are on a de-accession list. A funded proposal, and/or Sample Allocation Committee approval, is not needed to access cores on the de-accession list.

The de-accessed cores sometimes have poor dating and limited data available. All of the cores were drilled a long time ago, and some cores do not have good core quality.

De-accessed cores can be fantastic for method development. Large de-accessed sample volumes are available to work on method development. Contact the SMO to determine the best core for your research needs. To begin the process, submit a completed Sample Request / Facility Use form to the Science Management Office (SMO; nsf.icf.smo at unh.edu ).

Geoff Hargreaves, Curator, inside the main archive freezer at the NSF Ice Core Facility

Geoff Hargreaves, Curator, inside the main archive freezer at the NSF Ice Core Facility. Credit: NSF-ICF

Storage of Cores

The NSF-ICF archive freezer is 55,000 cubic feet (1557 cubic meters) and held at -36°C. The facility currently stores over 22,000 meters of firn and ice core collected from various locations in Greenland, Antarctica, and North America.

Ice cores obtained through NSF-funded programs may be accepted for storage at the NSF-ICF. Only ice cores made of meteoric ice are authorized for storage at the NSF-ICF. No sea ice, permafrost, or sediment cores are permitted in the facility.

Investigators must contact the Science Management Office ( nsf.icf.smo at unh.edu ) during planning stages of a project, prior to proposal submission, for possible permission to store new ice cores. Investigators must complete the Sample Request/ Facility Use form and email it to the SMO at least four weeks in advance of your proposal submission deadline.

Conditions of the Principal Investigator's proprietary rights to the core must be established when an investigator first contacts the Science Director to ask permission to store ice cores at the NSF-ICF. The NSF-ICF expects that investigators, either individually or in groups, may want exclusive access to a core obtained by them for a limited, but defined, period of time following acquisition of the core. The conditions of these exclusive rights (including the duration of the period of exclusive access) should be established at the stage of proposal funding, so that the conditions may be considered as part of the peer review process. For cores from NSF-funded programs, the Principal Investigator should establish these conditions, with the concurrence of the Science Director. NSF-ICF will accept cores with proprietary rights attached under these circumstances.

View inside the NSF-ICF's main archive freezer, which is held at a temperature of -36°C.

View inside the NSF-ICF's main archive freezer, which is held at a temperature of -36°C. NSF-ICF currently stores over 22,000 meters of ice core collected from various locations in Antarctica, Greenland, and North America. Credit: NSF-ICF

Use of the Facility

The NSF-ICF's main archive freezer is 55,000 cubic feet in size and is held at a temperature of -36°C. A second room for examination and sampling of ice cores, held at -24°C, is 12,000 cubic feet in size and is contiguous with the archive area. NSF-ICF also maintains space outside the freezer facility for material fabrication, storage, changing areas, offices, and visiting scientist workspace.

Investigators can use the facility to sample their own ice core and ship the samples and all remaining core to their home institution(s) under two conditions:

  1. Contact the Science Management Office prior to proposal submission
  2. All core material is removed from the NSF-ICF within 12 months of core arrival

Investigators interested in using the NSF-ICF for a core processing line or other laboratory work must complete the Sample Request/ Facility Use form and email it to the SMO at least four weeks in advance of your proposal submission deadline.

Investigators funded by agencies other than NSF who wish to use NSF-ICF must contact the Science Director prior to proposal submission to obtain permission to use the facility. Use includes but is not limited to storage of ice cores or samples, use of NSF-ICF workspace, staff time, or other resources. The Science Director will work with the investigator and NSF-ICF staff to determine the work scope and provide a cost estimate if needed. These costs may be borne by the agency funding the work and must be negotiated in advance of access to the facility.

A science technician measures a section of the WAIS Divide ice core as it begins its journey down a core processing line

A science technician measures a section of the WAIS Divide ice core as it begins its journey down a core processing line. Scientists and technicians will cut the ice so it can be sent to labs around the country for analysis. Credit: Peter Rejcek, NSF

Scheduling A Sample Visit

Once access to a core has been granted, the scientist needs to contact the NSF-ICF (303-202-4830 or e-mail nicl at usgs.gov) to set-up a site visit. When shipping equipment ahead of your arrival at the NSF-ICF, please use the correct shipping address and let NSF-ICF know that your shipment is coming. Maps of the local area can be downloaded here. Non-U.S. scientists and non-NSF funded scientists may be required to have an NSF-funded collaborator before they can be given access to certain cores.

Scientists frequently request NSF-ICF staff to cut and ship core samples for them. The ability of lab personnel to cut ice for you depends on our workload at the time of the request and on the amount of ice being requested. Although NSF-ICF is a no-fee facility, shipping costs must be borne by your home institution. The lab staff tracks each shipment to its final destination and will forward shipping information to you for your tracking. Upon receipt of your shipment, you must return the shipping container, the temperature logger, and any eutectic packs that accompanied your ice.