Last updated January 2020

Science in Action::

Working in Extremes

In some of the world's most extreme regions, scientists are studying changes in processes from the small scale to the big scale. They're asking questions like, "Why is the Greenland Ice Sheet getting darker?" "How do waves and sea ice interact?" And, "What's the role of giant king crabs in Alaska's ecosystem?" Find out the answers to these questions and more by watching the films below.

See all the movies individually below or on the YouTube playlist.

Featured film: 

Incognita Patagonia

This award-winning film represents a combination of exploration, climbing, glacier mapping, and historic research in order to explore and traverse the Cloue Icefield (Hoste Island, southernmost South America), one of the most striking mountaineering challenges still to be achieved in Patagonia, at the heart of a largely unexplored area. Although often far from the typically imagined cryosphere, the Andes Mountains, which stretch through Patagonia, are home to rapidly shrinking glaciers. The ice fields in Patagonia are the largest in the southern hemisphere outside of Antarctica, and their melt poses similar problems to the surrounding communities as the loss of glaciers and seas ice in the Arctic does to northern indigenous peoples and wildlife.

See the films

Playlists: 

Watch all of the short films on the Youtube playlist or use the individual links below. 

Science in an Extreme Environment - Horizon: Ice Station Antarctica

Short film (4:51), General audience

BBC 2 takes us to the Halley Research Station, occupied since 1956 on Antarctica's Brunt Ice Shelf, for a look at what scientists are uncovering on top of five-kilometer thick ice and under colorful auroras.

Guilt Trip

Medium-length film (36:42), general audience

Extreme skiers wish to go to Greenland to fly down some insane slopes, but they're worried about their carbon footprint. They bring along glaciologist Alun Hubbard to learn more about the science of Greenland ice sheet melt and global sea level rise while getting in some pretty epic skiing.

SWERUS-C3 – An Expedition to the Arctic Ocean

Medium-length film (29:00), general audience

Permafrost doesn't just exist on land. It sits on the seabed, too, and as it thaws, methane may be released as well. Swerus-C3, this Swedish–Russian–American collaborative effort, some 80 researchers studied the processes of this greenhouse gas during a six-week expedition at sea.

Drone in Greenland

Short film (5:10), general audience

Drones are increasingly popular, but how are they used for science? This film explains how a team of scientists use a fixed-wing drone to study calving of the Bowdoin Glacier in Greenland, which flows into the sea.

Alive and Well: Microbes Add to Melting of Greenland Ice Sheet

Short film (4:43), general audience

The Greenland Ice Sheet is not just white. In fact, it's darkening. Microbiologists from the UK and Denmark in this short film explain how dark dust ("cryoconite"), algae, and other matter are making the ice go from white to black.

SWARP: Ships and WAves Reaching Polar regions

Short film (11:54), general audience

The European Union-funded project, SWARP, is studying how waves and ice interact in the Arctic Ocean to help prepare for a coming increase in polar shipping and industrial activity.

Kodiak Fisheries Research Center

Short film (2:34), general audience with educational content

Go behind the scenes at the Kodiak Fisheries Research Center in Alaska with PolarTREC teacher Sian Proctor as she learns about - and holds! - giant, bone-crushing crabs.

Arctic Report Card 2016

Short film (2:34), general audience with educational content

Since 2006, the Arctic Report Card has documented the dramatic changes taking place up north. Last year set many records, with the highest ever surface air temperature reached since 1900 and minimum sea ice extent tying the historic low set in 2007. Find out more by watching the Arctic Report Card 2016 video.

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