In Photos: The Impact of Climate Change on the Antarctic

Sam Edmonds, an Antarctic tour guide and photographer, took these images from a helicopter along the Eastern coastline between Cape Adare and the Cooperation Sea during summer. The continent’s vastness and the scale of the climate challenge it faces is palpable from up above.

Across both polar regions, ice cover has become an important way to measure the impact of global warming, and the risk and logistical complications of operating aircraft around the Antarctic mean that perspective is both rare and valuable

All photographs: Sam Edmonds

Melting and collapses have taken turns shaping the cavern through this iceberg and the resulting shifts in weight distribution have caused the many tide marks melted into its flanks.

Humpback whales near the Cooperation Sea, East Antarctica. They make a yearly migration to the Southern Ocean and Antarctica to feed on krill.

The slab sides and sharp angles of the portion above the surface belie the bulk and reach of the ice below the water.

Disintegrating icebergs present a fractal landscape, each fragment shattering again and yet again until the smallest remnants of the former crystal leviathan melt away.

Blue tones in an iceberg, caused by light attenuation selecting out the longer frequencies of light, are most often associated with heavily compressed ice from deep within a glacier.

Adelie penguins (Pygoscelis adeliae), which may prove to become the antipodean emblem of climate change. This species has made the news at various times over the past few years as their colonies have increasingly become affected by varied andunexpected patterns in ice breakup and dispersal.

Adelie penguins on an iceberg.

A lone Adelie penguin wanders along an iceberg.

Multitudes of iceberg bits and brash ice are pulled by currents and pushed by winds along the edge of the pack edge, the margin separating open water from the treacherous reaches of unconsolidated ice.

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