Scientists are planning to ship ice to the Antarctic. They're afraid that mountain glaciers around the world are melting as a result of climate change and want to store samples of ice in a new vault in the coldest place on Earth.
At 4,350m the Col du Dome sits just below the summit of Mont Blanc.
Covered in snow, it appears to be a permanent, frozen fixture in the Alps - but looks can be deceptive.
"In 1994 we measured the temperature inside the glacier and in 2005 we went to the same place and we saw a warming of 1.5C," says Jerome Chappellaz, of the French National Centre for Scientific Research which is involved in creating a new ice store in the Antarctic.
"When it comes to non-polar glaciers, because of global warming, a lot of them are going to disappear this century and those at the highest altitudes are already experiencing summer melting.
"We are probably the only scientific community whose archive is in danger of disappearing from the face of the planet. If you work on corals, on marine sediments, on tree rings, the raw material is still here and will be for many centuries," he says.
Only a tiny amount of mountain glacial ice has ever been collected and studied, and in 2016 the Col du Dome will become the first contributor to an Antarctic ice vault.
The archive will be housed in a snow cave at the Concordia Research Station - a permanently manned base, jointly operated by scientists from France and Italy.
Stored safely in a giant frozen trench, the ice cores can simply be sealed in bags 10m below the surface where the temperature maintains a steady temperature of -50C.
"We know even with global warming, even if Antarctica warms up by a few degrees we still have access to the best freezer on the planet. We know the ice will be safe there for decades or centuries," says Chappellaz.
The team will use special drills to extract cylindrical ice cores from the Col du Dome. At more than 130 meters long and around 10cm in diameter the samples need to be brought to the surface in sections.
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