Some good news: the network announced today that it will be airing the series in its entirety, including the series finale during which British naturalist Sir David Attenborough "journeys to both polar regions to investigate what rising temperatures will mean for the people and wildlife that live there and for the rest of the planet."
It should be a fitting finale for a series that explores the polar regions on film like never before. Global warming is already creating impacts beyond climatatologists' worst predictions.
So what can we expect to see in the series finale? The BBC describes:
David starts out at the North Pole, standing on sea ice several metres thick, but which scientists predict could be open ocean within the next few decades. The Arctic has been warming at twice the global average, so David heads out with a Norwegian team to see what this means for polar bears. He comes face-to-face with a tranquilised female, and discovers that mothers and cubs are going hungry as the sea ice on which they hunt disappears. In Canada, Inuit hunters have seen with their own eyes what scientists have seen from space; the Arctic Ocean has lost 30% of its summer ice cover over the last 30 years. For some, the melting sea ice will allow access to trillions of dollars worth of oil, gas and minerals. For the rest of us, it means the planet will get warmer, as sea ice is important to reflect back the sun's energy. Next David travels to see what's happening to the ice on land: in Greenland, we follow intrepid ice scientists as they study giant waterfalls of meltwater, which are accelerating iceberg calving events, and ultimately leading to a rise in global sea level.
Temperatures have also risen in the Antarctic - David returns to glaciers photographed by the Shackleton expedition and reveals a dramatic retreat over the past century. It's not just the ice that is changing - ice-loving adelie penguins are disappearing, and more temperate gentoo penguins are moving in. Finally, we see the first ever images of the largest recent natural event on our planet - the break up of the Wilkins Ice Shelf, an ice sheet the size of Jamaica, which shattered into hundreds of icebergs in 2009.
Thankfully, the American audience will have the opportunity to see these impacts up close and personal, through the incredible footage that the BBC production team spent four years gathering.
It's not all good news, though. For the first six episodes, American viewers won't get to hear Sir David Attenborough's legendary voice. We get Alec Baldwin narrating. Maybe I'll wait to order the BBC version on DVD like I did for Planet Earth.
In case you missed my earlier post, here's the series trailer, which should get you excited.
Frozen Planet will premiere here in the United States on March 18 on the Discovery Channel.
Ben writes about climate, energy, and sustainability for numerous publications and is the former environment editor at GOOD. He's the author of "The Big Green Apple: Your Guide to Eco-Friendly Living in New York City" and currently lives in Vermont. A bicycle enthusiast, Ben has...Ben writes about climate, energy, and sustainability for numerous publications and is the former environment editor at GOOD. He's the author of "The Big Green Apple: Your Guide to Eco-Friendly Living in New York City" and currently lives in Vermont. A bicycle enthusiast, Ben has ridden across the United States and through much of Europe.MoreClose