PBS' 'NOVA: Polar Extremes' Travels Pole to Pole and Back in Time (VIDEO)

Rick and Christina Gables
NOVA: Polar Extremes PBS
Courtesy of NOVA/WGBH

Join renowned paleontologist and host Kirk Johnson on an epic adventure through time at the polar extremes of our planet in the two-hour special, Nova: Polar Extremes, premiering Wednesday, February 5 on PBS.

Following a trail of strange fossils found in all the wrong places, beech trees in Antarctica, hippo-like mammals in the Arctic, Johnson uncovers the bizarre history of the poles, from miles-high ice sheets to warm polar forests teeming with life. But what caused such dramatic changes at the ends of the Earth? And what controls the dial on Earth’s thermostat?

Courtesy of NOVA/WGBH

Today, the Arctic is warming faster than anywhere else in the world, and Antarctica has locked in its ice enough water to raise sea level by a terrifying 200 feet. The way that the poles respond to a warming climate is one of the greatest wildcards in predicting our climate future.

Johnson uses Earth’s history, written in stone, as a cipher to decode what is going on at our Polar Extremes today, and what the future may hold.

Courtesy of NOVA/WGBH

Featuring stunning footage from some of the most remote locations on the planet, combined with rich, 3D graphics of long-lost landscapes, this special immerses viewers in a scientific quest to explore the unexpected secrets of our planet’s polar past.

NOVA: Polar Extremes, Premiere, Wednesday, February 5, 8/7c, PBS (Check your local listings)