Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Antarctica - The Last Refuge

A place of wonder and infinite possibilities.
Home to nearly 70% of the worlds freshwater.
A place that nobody owns.
It comprises 10 percent of the worlds area and has never known war.

The one place in the world that we have the opportunity to keep pristine, an entire continent that can still be protected from the negative effects of human use. Mission Antarctica

Antarctica Melting Fast

The worst fears of environmentalists are coming true:
Scientists have issued a new warning about the effects of climate change on Antarctica, saying that more than 200 glaciers are melting because of unusually high temperatures. Using aerial photos dating back to the 1940s and more recent satellite images, scientists from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) have discovered just how much these ice shelves have melted over the last 50 years, as temperatures have risen by around 3½ degrees F.

In a study published in the respected journal Science, these researchers explain that until the mid-1950s, most of the glaciers got bigger. During the decade after that, most of them were stable, but since then, they've been shrinking. During the past five years, the pace of this shrinkage has accelerated. But climate change may not be the only cause of this mass meltdown, which healted during the 1980s, despite continuing warming. Other important reasons for the melt could include warming ocean temperatures, which may also be caused by global warming, but scientists haven't yet figured out exactly how this works. Unknown Country

NOVA: Warnings From The Ice
Originally broadcast on April 21, 1998. Over the last half-century, the coastal ice on the Antarctic Peninsula has been gradually disappearing. Scientists are beginning to wonder if we are on the verge of a great flood that may consume the world's coastlines. In the program, a group of scientists heads south to Antarctica in the race to answer questions and heed the warnings from the ice.

Mission Antartica

Florida USA
If West sheet melted (17 foot rise)

Warnings From The Ice: Water World What would happen to the world's coastlines if the West Antarctic Ice Sheet melted, raising global sea levels by as much as 20 feet? Some scientists say a collapse is inevitable, possibly even imminent.

While you're at it, check out the same stretch of coast 20,000 years ago. It was the height of the Ice Age, when sea levels were 400 feet lower than today, and there was a lot more land to go around.

Finally, have a look at what would be lost if the East Antarctic Ice Sheet were to melt. No one believes this monstrous dome will disintegrate anytime soon. But if it did, it would raise seas around the world by as much as 200 feet. (To play it safe, these images depict a conservative rise of 170 feet.)

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