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Poles Apart

Earth’s Extremities on the Edge

The North Pole and South Pole each have unique, pristine environments, virtually untouched by civilization, but a pair of federal studies cast doubt upon their future status. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in a study based on satellite data, warned that ancient glaciers in West Antarctica, thought to be more stable than those to the east, are “waking up” and beginning to dump ice into the sea, which could further contribute to rising sea levels.

A second NOAA study reported that glaciers at the top of the world are also thawing, melting and breaking down. According to that document, the Arctic is undergoing a period of “record and near-record warmth, unlike any period on record.” Lead Arctic NOAA researcher Emily Osborne announced at a major geoscience conference, “The Arctic is experiencing the most unprecedented transition in human history.”


This article appears in the March 2019 issue of Natural Awakenings.

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