The Atlantic

An Upheaval at the Ends of the World

Two new reports find that the North and South Poles face an “unprecedented” climate future.
Source: Alexandre Meneghini / Reuters

It was not so long ago—only 108 years, within a great-grandma’s memory—that a person’s eyes first beheld the South Pole. When Roald Amundsen made it to the bottom of the world in 1911, it marked a new chapter in the human story. Our curious, inventive, and adaptable species, born on the sunny savanna, had reached that last spot of remote desolation on our home planet.

Little did we know that less than a century later, the hustle and bustle of our society would alter that ancient landscape forever.

The pristine environments at both poles of the Earth are changing, perhaps irreversibly, according to a new pair of federal studies. On warned that ancient glaciers in Antarctica are “waking up” and beginning to dump ice into the sea, which could eventually raise sea levels.

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