Almost three miles of ice buries most of Antarctica, cloaking a continent one-and-a-half times the size of the United States. If all that ice melted, seas around the world would rise high enough to flood 12-story skyscrapers in places like New York City. Even a ten percent loss of Antarctica’s ice would cause catastrophic flooding of coastal cities unlike any seen before in human history.
Secrets Beneath the Ice
explores whether Antarctica's climate past can offer clues to what may happen to our warming planet. Antarctica's has a surprising climate history. In its distant past, it was ice-free, but around 14 million years ago, ice began overtaking the continent as it began plunging into a deep freeze. So when a massive ice shelf the size of Manhattan collapsed in less than one month in 2002, it shocked scientists and raised the alarming possibility that we may be heading toward an Antarctic meltdown.
To gather crucial evidence, NOVA follows an ambitious Antarctic investigation--a state-of-the-art drilling probe known as ANDRILL. Drilling deep beneath the Antarctic ice, down through the sea, and three-fourths of a mile into the seafloor, ANDRILL recovers rock cores that reveal intimate details of climate and fauna from a time in the distant past when the Earth was just a few degrees warmer than it is today. As researchers grapple with the harshest conditions on the planet, they discover astonishing new clues--not only about Antarctica’s past, but also Earth’s future. These breakthrough discoveries carry ominous implications for coastal cities around the globe.Source: