Ice core to shed light on Aust weather

Ethan James

Thousand-year-old ice extracted from hundreds of metres below a remote part of Antarctica could help scientists better understand Australia's weather history.

Researchers on Tuesday started cutting a 300-metre long core in Hobart, extracted from east Antarctica in summer.

They hope the sample from Mount Brown can give a climate snapshot of the frozen continent and Southern Ocean and how this has impacted weather in Australia.

Tessa Vance from the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre said the new sample would build on data taken from cores in the region.

"By tracking these changes over centuries ... we can build a detailed picture of how Antarctic and regional climate fluctuates naturally," she said.

An international team of seven scientists battled blizzards and heavy snow over 70 days to extract the core at a camp about 330km inland from Australia's Davis research station.

"It was pretty woolly. It was a pretty windy site and a lot of blowy snow even when it wasn't falling from the sky," Dr Vance told AAP.

"It was building up outside tents on a daily basis."

Scientists in 2015 developed a 1000-year record of drought in eastern Australia from the Law Dome ice core.

The latest ice core samples date back more than 1000 years and were shipped to Tasmania on icebreaker Aurora Australis earlier this year

They'll be analysed in Hobart and in overseas specialist labs and are expected to shed light on weather in southern Australia.

There is little data on how weather patterns form in the Indian Ocean, an area considered the 'birthplace' of many storms that hit Australia, Dr Vance said.

Full results won't be known for years but early data is encouraging.

"You can visually see summers and winters," she said.

"It means it (the core) is high resolution. Enough to look at the kind of climate processes that we want to look at."