Environmental Awareness 2023

Melting Ice Shelves: New Discoveries and Immediate Impacts

Thu Oct 12, 2023
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Event Video

Presented in partnership with Walking Mountains
Holly & Buck Elliott generously underwrite the Environmental Awareness series
Cindy Engles generously underwrites the summer season of programming
Developed in partnership with Rebecca Zweig of Business-Smart Solutions, Inc

Hear the latest updates with new discoveries from prominent Greenland and Antarctic scientists. The planet continues to dance on the precipice of disaster. New studies show the ice sheets covering Greenland and the Antarctic, vital to the stability of Earth’s climate, are melting at three times the rate they were just 30 years ago. Recently released data illustrate how human contributions to climate change are nearing tipping points for irreparable damage to these formations that hold 99% of the globe’s freshwater ice, enough to cover the entire U.S. in nearly one meter of water if they were to melt.

Scientists from around the world race against time to study the key structures that comprise the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets before they lose integrity and cleave off to melt into the ocean, forever lost.  Using remote sensors, on-site observations, and inventive methods like attaching mini-cameras to seals, researchers collect data to glean insights about the existing damage and future impact of manmade climate change.

Kristin Poinar, assistant professor of Geology at the University of Buffalo, has written or co-authored more than two dozen studies examining the various water and ice structures that comprise the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheet and tracking rapid changes that alarm observers.  Dr. Poinar has also researched Canada’s lost Laurentide Ice Sheet, a once-sprawling formation that created the Great Lakes.  She is currently researching liquid water bodies inside glaciers in the snowiest regions of Greenland.

A veteran of 21 expeditions to the Antarctic, Ted Scambos is a senior research scientist at the University of Colorado-Boulder’s Earth Science and Observation Center specializing in glaciology and remote sensing of ice sheets and glaciers. He is the Principal Investigator for the Science Coordination Office of the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration and a member of the Landsat Science Team. Dr. Scambos is currently working on a project to place sensors at the coldest places on Earth to monitor climate change.

Drs. Poinar and Scambos will discuss the innovative methods used to track the state of the world’s ice sheets and the challenges faced to preserve them, as well as update the status and forecasts for the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets coming from the latest round of their research and the work of fellow scientists in some of the Earth’s harshest environments. They will then be in conversation with Scott King, founder of Mission Zero and creator of the Climate Action Fund at CU Boulder, to discuss the connections between these remote landscapes and the effects of climate change we all experience around the world.

Event Video


Scott King

Scott King

Technology Entrepreneur and Founder at Mission Zero

Ted Scambos

Ted Scambos

Senior Research Scientist

University of Colorado’s Earth Science and Observation Center

Kristin Poinar

Kristin Poinar

Asst. Professor of Geology

University of Buffalo