From the poles to the laboratories :
stages and scales of international cooperationin paleoclimatology (1955-2015)
Ice Core Science (ICS) is a paleoclimatology specialty aiming to reconstruct the dynamics of past climates, from laboratory analysis of ice samples drilled in Greenland and Antarctica. The field idiosyncrasies and the geopolitical stakes attached to these polar territories explain why this specialty has been characterized, from its beginnings, by strong international cooperation. This article relates the meaning and forms of this cooperation, focusing on the organization of field work by scientists, and presenting their coordination in the global network enabling the flow of brittle climate archives from the field to the laboratories. The historical analysis reveals a strong initial influence of the Cold War on international cooperation in ICS. But it also shows how the ICS community has consolidated its presence and credibility beyond this context, changing the polar environment’s very nature in the course of the global warming debate. Finally, the many faces of ICS’s internationalism provide an empirical fulcrum for the renewal of the discussion about the treatment of context in science studies, as the conclusion of the paper argues.
SCIENCE STUDIES – PALEOCLIMATOLOGY – COOPERATION – TRANSNATIONAL STUDIES – GLOBALIZATION