Fate of Antarctica

Fate of Antarctica

2014, Science  -   20 Comments
Ratings: 8.22/10 from 143 users.

Antarctica, a land mass that was once bathed in tropical sunshine and housed forest life, is now the coldest continent on our planet with record-breaking low temperatures of -93.2 degrees Celsius. Could these drastic climate changes bring about the extinction of human existence and planet Earth as we know it? Does our fate depend on the survival of this continent?

Fate of Antarctica explores how the climate has drastically changed and the events that brought about these changes. The striking footage of Antarctica's powerful winds, massive icebergs and strong sea currents coupled with graphics demonstrates how the intensification of winds in northern regions have picked up speed and led to the demise of billions of layers of ice on Antarctica's western coast. By using satellite technology on a mission in 2002 called GRACE, scientists discovered that a massive meteor struck Earth's southern hemisphere, which may have aided in the breaking apart of Pangea. The shift of land masses pushed Antarctica to the southern-most pole, making it the coldest, driest and windiest place on our planet.

The GRACE mission showed that Antarctica is losing ice primarily on its western coast and in the center of the continent; while the northeastern areas are actually gaining ice. A whopping 159 billion tons of ice have been lost per year from 2010 to 2013. This massive loss is due to the intense winds and temperature differentiation from the north that are pulling warmer water to the surface, eradicating large ice shelves of west Antarctica. After drilling through 500 meters of ice, warm water was detected below that is also causing deterioration of ice.

What does the breaking apart of glaciers from Antarctica mean for the rest of the planet? As the speed in which these glaciers break apart increases, the ice sheets that lie behind them will collapse. Surprisingly, the erosion of parts of the continent is not merely due to climate change; there is movement of magma 25 kilometers below the plate that is also a big part of the glacial ice destruction. This proves to be a terrifying find: how will we stop the destruction of this frozen continent if it is completely out of our control?

Conspiracy theories and political arguments cannot downplay what is happening to this southernmost land mass. Glaciers will continue to fall, creating a domino effect for the layers of ice behind them, and sea levels will continue to rise. Soon our seaport cities, such as New York City and London, will be at risk.

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winter andresen
2 years ago

Roger, I understand. Whatever the case may be I think that global warming will take care of itself when the world runs out of fossil fuels.

3 years ago

Just another scare tactic by those that fudge the numbers to push the global warming agenda.

Roger Andout
5 years ago

"The average american doesn't know or care about celsius or the metric system..."
Unfortunately, Science deals only in metric, but it's hardly 'obscure', even in Farhenheit.
I can`t comprehend 'winter's remarks, but still it`s good to realise not all Americans are Trump voters. (Can`t believe I`m indulging in 'ad hominum' comments).

6 years ago

The average american doesn't know or care about celsius or the metric system of meters. Clearly this is an American made film, so why be obscure? These videos would be made more meaningful to Americans watching them if the films were not designed to confuse. Did they think people would bother to stop the film and look this stuff up and then do calculations so they could figure out what the film makers are talking about?
Well, I was going to watch this, but I have a busy life and am un-educated so I will now find something else to do.

7 years ago

Every time I begin to think American education is improving, I read comment section for a reality check. It's, definitely, not improving.

Tom Carberry
8 years ago

I would prefer a documentary on how scientists think Antarctica came into existence and when. If any one knows of one, I would appreciate a heads up. Thanks.

This documentary gave sort of an elementary school explanation. I would like to see some math on the heat involved in causing enough precipitation to created ice 2 kilometers thick on average over a continent. And how did the ice form all the way to the sea bottom in areas off of the land mass? You don't see that happening in nature, at least not today.

I cannot see precipitation as the principle cause. As the documentary says at some point, Antarctica gets about the same amount of precipitation as the Sahara.

As to the dangers of all the ice melting, I think we should think of the possible benefits, too, such as a massive increase in fresh water to a world desperate for more water.

Handsome fella
9 years ago

"This effect has been likened to a bottle.. turn it upside down and pull the stopper out and water flows downwards" What an analogy, bet it took time to think that one up... lmao!

Kansas Devil
9 years ago

Some interesting things about the structure and history of Antarctica and it's glacial coverings. If the subsurface volcanic activity gets more energized, global warming will be a side issue to the effect it will cause.

Jay Steff
9 years ago

"This proves to be a terrifying find: how will we stop the destruction of
this frozen continent if it is completely out of our control?"
Oh shriek! The core of the continent is growing colder (as the documentary says), the icebreakers of the 4 strongest militaries on the globe could not rescue a boat load of AGW scientists who were trapped last year off of Antarctica BY ICE and SNOW(!), and now you are asking how we can save the continent from GW?

So that should we panic about again? Not cold enough, too cold, can anyone decide what to worry about? How can man even control the sun, and that is the issue here, the SUN.

Wake up children, man does not control AGW because it does not exist! The sun is far stronger than man and no matter how many large SUV's we drive we can not affect it.

9 years ago

Excellent! Most informative. I would like to see a comparison
With the activity of the Sun. After all the Sun rules our weather on somedays. Most of the time man is trying to change it. Such stupidity.

Brenstonian Maximus
9 years ago

Thank you so much! You saved me! I needed to find a short film for my ap summer assignment and I found THIS! THANK YOU!