Major research efforts like Quelccaya require international cooperation. As the flags on these meteorological stations at the 5670 m summit demonstrate, both Peruvian and American scientists
played a crucial role in this research effort.
The meteorological stations monitored current weather conditions. Instruments such as these provide efficient and precise measurements of current climate. Unfortunately, instrumental records of
climate cover only the last few centuries in Europe and North America, and even less in most other parts of the world. While ice cores cannot provide information as detailed as that produced by these weather stations, they perform much the same
function. By looking at the chemical and physical information contained in ice records, scientists are able to unlock crucial clues to Earth's climate history.
* N.B. While the Little Ice Age has been 'identified' in dozens of climate
records, the timing of the event has varied from site to site, as has its intensity; in other words, the Little Ice Age should not be thought of as a discrete global climatic event, but rather as a period during which different parts of the planet
experienced cold events of varying duration and age.
Byrd Polar Research Center, The Ohio State University