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Extreme Ice

Program Overview


NOVA teams up with National Geographic to follow researchers as they explore one of the most important scientific questions humans have ever faced: How fast are the world's glaciers and ice sheets melting, and what are the consequences for humans?

The program:

  • describes one photographer's odyssey to capture time-lapse images of glaciers across the Northern Hemisphere.

  • notes that while past cycles of ice ages and periods of warming were caused mainly by shifts in Earth's orbit, the current period of warming seems to be driven by human-produced greenhouse gases.

  • takes viewers to Alaska's Columbia glacier, where researchers use a laser survey gun fired at reflective targets on the glacier to determine how fast the mass of ice is traveling.

  • details how scientists use seismometers to discover what is causing the glacier's increased calving.

  • reports that scientists think that in the next 50 to 100 years, mountain glaciers almost everywhere will disappear, causing sea-level rise and, for one-sixth of the world's population, a loss of drinking water.

  • follows several teams of scientists as they investigate the stability of Earth's biggest tracts of ice—the polar ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland.

  • reveals scientists' best estimate for sea-level rise over the next 100 years.

Taping Rights: Can be used up to one year after program is recorded off the air.

Teacher's Guide
Extreme Ice
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