Jun 1, 2019 To the ends of the Earth
In our first story, we take listeners to a place where no human has been before. Reporter Carolyn Beeler boards an icebreaker to sail along the face of Antarctica’s Thwaites Glacier. If Thwaites collapses, it could cause 2 feet of global sea level rise. But glaciologists fear the consequences could also be much worse: Thwaites may be holding back the entire West Antarctic ice sheet, almost like a cork in a wine bottle. If it crumbles into the ocean, the results could be catastrophic.
For our second story, reporter Michael de Yoanna travels to a military radar site in Alaska’s Bering Strait. It’s part of a network of military radars designed to monitor a million miles of airspace around the United States and Canada, guarding against Russian long-range bombers and missiles. Now, though, some of these radars are facing new foes like ice melt, erosion and storm surge. We investigate how climate change is affecting U.S. national security, and how potential foreign adversaries like Russia are preparing to take advantage of it.
Our final story looks at Kivalina, an Alaska Native village above the Arctic Circle. Melting sea ice and storm surge will likely put Kivalina underwater. In fact, the Army Corps of Engineers says it could happen by 2025. With the lives of residents hanging in the balance, reporter Emily Schwing looks into why efforts to relocate Kivalina keep failing, and whether state and federal agencies are equipped to support climate change refugees.