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What secrets do the ice masses of the polar regions hold? Glaciologist Poul Christoffersen, engineer Mary Alber, and iceberg photographer Camille Seaman join Bridget Kendall.

When photographer Camille Seaman stood on the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica, she felt dizzy. It was 200 feet down to the sea, and below sea level was another 800 to 1,000 feet of ice. And all this, she thought, was made by one snowflake falling on another, through time.
On The Forum, Bridget Kendall finds out more about the ice masses of the polar ice caps. Along with Native American artist Camille Seaman, she is joined by the Danish glaciologist Poul Christoffersen, who's been measuring the effects of a warming ocean on that very ice shelf, and American engineer Mary Albert who drills down into ancient snow cores for crucial climate clues.
Photo: Breaching Iceberg – Greenland, August 8, 2008 © Camille Seaman

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28 minutes

Last on

Sat 28 Dec 2013 11:00

Mary R Albert

Mary R Albert
Mary Albert is Professor of Engineering at Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth in the US.  She is also executive director of the US Ice Drilling Program.  Her work is focused on firn, or ancient snow, extracted from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets.  She is examining firn’s microstructure and how it traps atmospheric gases, before it is compressed into ice and those gases are contained as bubbles within it.  This will help us to better understand our record of past climate, gleaned from ice cores, that now goes back 800,000 years. 

Poul Christoffersen

Poul Christoffersen
Poul Christoffersen has just returned from Antarctica, where he’s been measuring the effects of a warming polar ocean on the Ross Ice Shelf – a tongue of ice the size of France, which extends outwards from the landmass.   Poul is a Senior Lecturer at the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge University, and he says this kind of collaboration between glaciology and oceanography is forming a new frontier of climate science.

Camille Seaman

Camille Seaman
Award-winning Native American African American artist Camille Seaman, was raised to believe that everything is connected.  She has been travelling to the polar regions to take photographs of ice for the last ten years, and says when she stands in front of an iceberg, she feels that she is meeting one of her ancestors.  She tries to convey her sense of awe and wonder through her pictures, for the benefit of viewers who will probably never get to go there themselves.


  • Sat 28 Dec 2013 11:00