International Partnerships in Ice Core Sciences (IPICS) has been an active organization since 2002, with a mission of defining and promoting priorities for international ice core science. Membership in IPICS is open to all countries conducting ice-coring activities, with 23 nations currently involved. Two co-Chairs manage IPICS, Eric Wolff (University of Cambridge) and Ed Brook (Oregon State University). The co-Chairs work with a steering committee, which has representatives from all IPICS nations as well as additional representatives for specific scientific issues.
IPICS is an independent organization, but receives operating support from PAGES, SCAR, and IACS. Past IPICS meetings have been supported by those organizations and also by the US NSF, ESF, the EPICA Descartes Prize, and numerous other organizations.
One of the primary activities of IPICS is to create broad frameworks for ice coring activities in support of major international science goals. Originally, IPICS was organized around four scientific themes:
- Creating an array of 2,000 year long ice core records to aid understanding of modern climate.
- Creating an array of 40,000 year records to aid understanding of glacial-interglacial environmental change.
- Recovery of an Eemian climate record from Greenland.
- The search for the "oldest ice core" – a 1.5 million year record from Antarctica.
- Development of new technology for ice core drilling.
IPICS has also been active in supporting and organizing conferences related to ice coring. Most notable among these was the 2012 IPICS Open Science Conference in Presqu'île de Giens, France, which brought together over 200 ice core scientists for a week of presentations and discussions. Smaller meetings organized by IPICS have focused on more specific topics, for example the 2012 Oldest Ice Meeting in La Londe les Maures. These focused meetings are intended to help move IPICS priority projects forward. In the case of the oldest ice project the La Londe les Maures meeting resulted in an influential paper in Climate of the Past (Fischer et al., 2013) which outlined our current understanding of the challenges of searching for oldest ice, and outlined remote sensing and modeling work needed to move the effort forward. Other IPICS-related synthesis efforts of note include contributions to the PAGES 2K networks and the recent PAGES 2K synthesis (Pages 2k Consortium, 2013), as well as independent synthesis of longer Antarctic records by Pedro et al. (2011) and Parrenin et al. (2013).