At the first UNESCO conference in 2017, the international scientists decided that the heritage ice cores should all be stored at one of the international bases in Antarctica and follow an Ice Memory charter.This sanctuary will be open to all of the international teams.

The IPEV (French Polar Institute) and the PNRA (Italian National Antarctic Research Programme) are working to create a snow cave at the French-Italian Concordia station, responsibility for which will be shared between the IPEV and the PNRA.

An initial plan of the snow cave has been produced by the IPEV.

Cave vue d'artiste

Despite the added complexity caused by transporting the heritage cores to Antarctica, this strategic choice is essential for several fundamental reasons:
  • guaranteed long-term preservation of the samples using 100% ‘natural’ storage with no energy consumption required for refrigeration, thus protecting the precious samples from any risk of disruption to refrigeration (technical problems, economic crisis, conflict, acts of terrorism, etc.)
  • structured management of these unique samples, combined with restrictive Antarctic logistics which prevent overly easy access to the raw material
  • storage at an international station on international land, managed via a treaty signed by the world’s major nations and on which land claims are frozen
The goal is to be able to transport and store the first Ice Memory cores by 2022–2023.
Concordia is located at an altitude of 3,233 m on the High Antarctic Plateau (1,100 km from the nearest coast and 2,500 km from the geographic South Pole). The average temperature there is -54°C, dropping to as low as -84°C in winter. Despite the site being remote and isolated, the existing logistics chain and the exceptional stability of the temperature 10 metres below the firn (around -54°C, reached naturally throughout the year) make it an ideal location for storage of the ice samples in order to protect the climate records.