Teaching Science

Arctic Circle Documentary

Climate change is hitting the Arctic harder and faster than any other region on Earth. Although the North may seem remote from the population centres of the world, sensitive ecosystems are being altered by global warming. Shot in HD, in some of the world's most desolate and stunning locations, Arctic Circle marries dramatic footage with hard science and striking computer graphics.

In Episode One we meet scientists chronicling the effects of climate change on the land and animals. We see huge ice shelves crumbling into the sea, polar bears struggling to survive and torrents of water flowing where there should be only ice.

This 41 minute documentary is a good look at the effects climate change is already having on arctic ecosystems, especially on the polar bear — an apex predator.

Episode Two introduces us to some of the people racing to pump oil and gas from beneath the Arctic seabed. For the engineers constructing ice-breaking tankers and the crew on the world's northernmost oil rig, this race is all about excitement, opportunity and new frontiers.

This 39 minute documentary is a good overview of the economics and politics surrounding high-latitude oil-and-gas exploration and drilling. It concentrates on Norway and Russia, but the same factors apply in the Canadian arctic — and the latest US budget opened up drilling in the US Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Linked in the grade 10 climate unit.