How warming weather will reshape the Antarctic Peninsula

Rapidly-increasing temperatures are projected to expose large swaths of western Antarctic land by 2100.

This story appears in the November 2018 issue of National Geographic magazine.

The western side of the Antarctic Peninsula has been experiencing some of the fastest warming winters on the planet since observations began in the 1950s. As glaciers retreat, they expose bare, rocky land, altering the ecosystem to provide more habitat for some native species—but also for invasive ones.

Falkland Islands

(Islas Malvinas)

South Georgia

Krill

concentrations

S. Amer.

Direction

of view

South Pole

Antarctica

Bellwether colonies

Guano deposits detected by satellite help

scientists track penguin populations, which

serve as indicators of ecological health.

Penguin colony

Ice-free land

Land projected to be exposed by 2100 with

average global temperature inceases of

+3.2°F

+6.7°F

Scale varies in this perspective. Distance from

Antarctic Sound to Anvers Island is 200 miles.

Former

Larsen A

Ice Shelf

Elephant

Island

Antarctic

Sound

Former

Larsen B

Ice Shelf

Paulet

Island

South

Shetland

Islands

Cape

Shirreff

Livingston

Island

Larsen B

Ice Shelf

Anvers

Island

Port

Lockroy

Ice melt

The loss of floating ice

shelves, land ice that

flows out over the sea,

has accelerated.

manuel canales and ryan t. williams, NGM

Staff; Leanne Abraham, steve tyson

Sources: Jasmine R. Lee, UNiversity of Queens

land brisbane; Simeon L. Hill, BRITISH

ANTARCTIC SURVEY; Heather Lynch, Stony

Brook University; Polar geospatial center;

Ohio State University; National

GEospatial-Intelligence Agency

Krill

concentrations

South Georgia

Falkland Islands

(Islas Malvinas)

S. Amer.

Direction

of view

South Pole

Antarctica

Elephant

Island

Paulet

Island

Antarctic

Sound

South

Shetland

Islands

Former

Larsen B

Ice Shelf

Cape

Shirreff

Former

Larsen A

Ice Shelf

Ice melt

Livingston

Island

The loss of floating ice

shelves, land ice that

flows out over the sea,

has accelerated.

Larsen B

Ice Shelf

Bellwether colonies

Port

Lockroy

Guano deposits

detected by satellite

help scientists track

penguin populations,

which serve as indicators

of ecological health.

Anvers

Island

Penguin colony

Ice-free land

Land projected to be

exposed by 2100 with

average global temperature

increases of

+3.2°F

+6.7°F

Scale varies in this perspective.

Distance from Antarctic Sound

to Anvers Island is 200 miles.

manuel canales and ryan t. williams, NGM Staff; Leanne Abraham, steve tyson

Sources: Jasmine R. Lee, UNiversity of Queensland brisbane; Simeon L. Hill,

BRITISH ANTARCTIC SURVEY; Heather Lynch, Stony Brook University; Polar geospatial

center; Ohio State University; National GEospatial-Intelligence Agency