Antarctica and the Southern Ocean play a key role in the global climate system (e.g. Mayewski et al., 2009; Convey et al., 2009). Processes at high southern latitudes play a pivotal role in global atmospheric and oceanic circulation, oceanic uptake of heat and carbon, and planetary energy balance, through the ice-albedo feedback.
The ability to detect and attribute climate change in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean is dependent upon climate observations; however, this region is the most observation-sparse and record-length-limited part of the globe. There are few systematic observations extending before mid-20th century, and good coverage is only available since the satellite era (i.e. the last 3-4 decades).
In this context, key questions of the PAGES 2k Network underscore an acute need for good high resolution palaeoclimate data extending out to 2000 years before present, but also with good coverage through the instrumental period so as to permit proxy calibration.
The PAGES Antarctica 2k Regional Working Group includes the ice core community and seeks to integrate these records with other available proxies in order to best address the PAGES Focus 2: Regional Climate Dynamics, through the PAGES 2k network.
Over large parts of Antarctica, obtaining well-resolved ice cores for the 2k network is a challenge, but one that is becoming more tractable with the use of new technology.
Where possible, complementary records from lacustrine, terrestrial and marine sources are required to characterize climate variability and change recorded through systems with different seasonal biases.