Scientists have long worried about climate change-induced melting of the huge West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Now they say that not only is the disintegration of the ice already underway, but that it's likely unstoppable.
That means that in the coming centuries, global sea levels will rise by anywhere from 4 to 12 feet. As NPR's Nell Greenfieldboyce reports, that's a larger increase than the United Nations expert panel noted last year. But it would occur over a longer time frame — centuries instead of decades.
Originally published on Sun February 23, 2014 7:00 pm
In 1911, explorer and British Royal Navy officer Robert Falcon Scott had big plans. He intended to be the first to reach the South Pole, that holy grail of exploration, and claim the distinction for the British Empire.
Parker Liautaud, 19, is a sophomore at Yale University studying geology and geophysics. He’s also a polar adventurer who just returned from an expedition, where he and another explorer broke the world record for the fastest unsupported trek from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole.
Years ago, I needed a book for a long plane ride home from Austin, Texas. My cousin threw me a tattered paperback. It looked mediocre at best: on the cover was an iceberg, a ship, and the word ENDURANCE in bold letters.
A short time and several chapters later, I would start what some would call an obsession with a man named Ernest Shackleton, and one of the most incredible adventure/survival stories ever.
Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 8:25 pm
Conservators working to preserve artifacts from the early days of Antarctic exploration have uncovered century-old black-and-white negatives taken during Ernest Shackleton's 1914-1917 expedition but never printed.
Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 8:50 am
Scientists watching Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier from space have noticed with some alarm that it has been surging toward the sea.
If it were to melt entirely, global sea levels would rise by several feet.
The glacier is really, really remote. It's 1,800 miles from McMurdo, the U.S. base station in Antarctica, so just getting there is a challenge. Scientists have rarely been able to get out to the glacier to make direct measurements.
Today, we’re talking about ice --- and no, not because of today’s weather.
But the icy regions of our planet are telling us important information about our climate. Ice locks in historical data that researchers are just starting to unlock. They’re finding greenhouse gases trapped during the industrial revolution and even the results of nuclear arms testing.