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Secrets Beneath the Ice 1x53

In 2002, an immense ice shelf 200 meters thick and the size of Manhattan abruptly collapsed into the ocean off western Antarctica. This event shocked scientists already concerned by the unprecedented rate of melting in some of Antarctica’s biggest glaciers. Now many researchers believe we may be heading toward a situation last seen a few million years ago, when ice sheets were totally absent from Antarctica. Such a scenario would raise world sea levels so that New York City would be flooded up to the level of the Statue of Liberty’s shoulders. But could this really happen? Is Antarctica’s surprising past a reliable guide to what may happen to our warming planet?  Over 18 months, NOVA will follow the ANDRILL project, perhaps the most ambitious of all the International Polar Year research projects happening on Antarctica. Its state-of-the-art drilling probe will penetrate down through the floating sea ice for more than a mile to extract sediment cores from the seabed and reveal intimate details of Antarctic climate and fauna millions of years ago. Clues to global climate change can be traced within these rock layers buried deep beneath the coldest, most remote ice mass on Earth: and the answers ANDRILL finds could be crucial to our planet’s future.