An Upheaval at the Ends of the World

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

The following day, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its new Arctic Report Card, which finds that the top of the world is also thawing, melting, and breaking down. The Arctic is undergoing a period of “record and near-record warmth unlike any period on record,” the report says.

Emily Osborne, a scientist who leads Arctic research at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, repeated this warning while speaking at a major geoscience conference on Tuesday. “The Arctic is experiencing the most unprecedented transition in human history,” she said.