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“Unstoppable” Destabilization of West Antarctic Ice Sheet: Threshold May Have Been Crossed

By Brenda Ekwurzel, Senior Climate Scientist, Union of Concerned Scientists

Losing all the ice shelves of Antarctica would be like losing each flying buttress that supported a gothic building. Collapse is the inevitable result. The question is how fast is the collapse in the case of an ice sheet that would, as Richard Alley told Congress in February 2007, slowly spread outwards and flatten like pancake batter that was just plopped on a griddle.

Nearly a decade later, the latest science indicates a critical threshold may have already been crossed.

Leopard Seal vs. Leopard Seal—Underwater Food Fight

We know that leopard seals are large, formidable predators, but exactly what they’re doing below the waterline has long remained a mystery. But now, thanks to National Geographic grantee Douglas Krause, we’re getting an underwater glimpse into leopard seals’ carnivorous lives—and the seal-on-seal battles are a sight to behold.

Tagging Adorable, Nasty Little Penguins: #bestjobever

The world has had a love affair with penguins for some time now. Their tuxedo-colored feathers, waddling walk, and awkward mannerisms make them easy to adore. But get too close to penguins—chinstrap penguins in particular—and your endearing perception of these birds may be tested, given their penchant for projectile pooping and beating each other up.

Think Fast: What Bird Is This?

Artist and science illustrator Jane Kim is painting all 241 modern bird families on a giant mural at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Learn how she captures details that make each species unique.