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Friday, July 1, 2011

Antarctica Warming

A team of National Geographic explorers will begin a five-week expedition across the continent's Larsen ice shelf to study how global warming is changing the topography of Antarctica.

Larsen B Ice Shelf Breakup

Over a 35-day period in early 2002, Antarctica's Larsen B ice shelf lost a total of about 1,255 square miles, one of the largest shelf retreats ever recorded. This image, captured by NASA's MODIS satellite sensor on February 23, shows the shelf mid-disintegration, spewing a cloud of icebergs adrift in the Weddell Sea.

Glacier Advance

A stark white lobe of a glacier advances across Antarctica's dry valleys region, so called because of its scarcity of snow. Earth's fifth-largest continent contains more than two-thirds of the world's freshwater in the form of ice, yet some areas receive less than two inches (five centimeters) of precipitation a year.

Penguins on Shore

A group of gentoo penguins nests on an icy shore of Cierva Cove, Antarctica.

Large Iceberg

Global warming is forcing ice shelves to calve, producing icebergs like this monolith jutting into the waters of the Antarctic Peninsula.

Penguin and Chick

An Antarctic gentoo chick stays near its parent for warmth. Gentoos are the fastest underwater swimming birds and can reach speeds of 22 miles an hour

Leopard Seal

A leopard seal plunges through Antarctic waters. Swift and stealthy, adult leopard seals tend to be solitary creatures, hunting alone at the fringes of pack ice.

Neumeyer Channel

Icebergs drift across Antarctica's Neumeyer Channel. The Larsen Ice Shelf Expedition team predicts melting Antarctic shelves and bergs will raise sea levels around the world, flooding hundreds of thousands of square miles and displacing tens of millions of people.