Willi Dansgaard

Willi Dansgaard was the first to realise that ice cores drilled from the ice sheet could contain information about past climate. The story of his career is also the story of how a good idea in 1952 could develop into an international sensation in 1969 and then turn into an entirely new branch of climate research and geophysics.

A Danish pioneer

11 September 2014

A Danish pioneerPart 1: A Danish pioneer
Willi Dansgaard was the first to realise that ancient water in the form of ice could contain information about past climate and he became the founder of ice core research. But the story begins in 1922 …

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Greenland 1947

11 September 2014

Greenland 1947Part 2: Greenland 1947
The lifelong love for Greenland begins in 1947 when Willi Dansgaard is stationed in Godhavn where he will observe magnetic turbulence. But there is something not quite right about the measurements … 

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A really good idea

12 September 2014

A really good ideaPart 3: A really good idea
After many trials and tribulations Willi Dansgaard finally returns to the Biophysical Laboratory, but nobody is interested in his work. “Depression was about to set in,” when he gets a good idea in 1952
 
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Back to Greenland

12 September 2014

Back to GreenlandPart 4: Back to Greenland
After a year in the United States, Dansgaard gets a contract for a new Greenland expedition and the opportunity to analyse his first ice core. This results in his first climate curve … 
 
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The Bubble Expedition

12 September 2014

The Bubble ExpeditionPart 5: The Bubble Expedition
The Bubble Expedition in 1958 gives Dansgaard the opportunity to test his theory on a specific problem, but then catastrophe happens that will prove to have welcome consequences …

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IAEA and the Tellus article

12 September 2014

IAEA and the Tellus article Part 6: IAEA and the Tellus article
Professor Dansgaard makes a name for himself internationally with the Tellus article, but the Soviet nuclear tests create problems for subsequent expeditions …
 
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The city under ice

12 September 2014

The city under ice Part 7: The city under ice
In 1967, Willi Dansgaard and his group get to analyse an ice core from the world’s first drilling all the way to the bedrock. The results cause a sensation everywhere, but not everyone believes Dansgaard …

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New horizons

12 September 2014

New horizonsPart 8: New horizons
A new drilling project back to the ice age is the dream of the small, close-knit group that is working hard and making groundbreaking discoveries up through the 1970s …

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Drilling at Dye 3

12 September 2014

Drilling at Dye 3Part 9: Drilling at Dye 3
The group builds their own ice drill, ISTUK, from scratch and it proves problematic. But they finally manage to complete a drilling and now they can determine whether Dansgaard was right 10 years earlier … 

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The perfect drilling site

12 September 2014

The perfect drilling sitePart 10: The perfect drilling site
The long-standing collaboration with the Americans falls apart and old friends become competitors in the race to beat the world record for deep drilling …

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The legacy of Dansgaard

12 September 2014

Arven-fra-DansgaardPart 11: The legacy of Dansgaard
The Centre for Ice and Climate is a world leader in drilling techniques and ice core research and today they are chasing ice from the last interglacial period, the Eemian …

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