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PolarRES researcher, Dr. Ella Gilbert, explores the impact of climate change on the cryosphere in “Lift the Ice”

7 June 2023

The Earth’s cryosphere – the frozen parts of our planet – has long-held secrets that scientists are just beginning to uncover. Curiosity Stream’s new six-part docu-series, Lift the Ice, takes viewers on an adventure with some of the world’s top explorers and scientific experts, including Dr. Ella Gilbert, a climate scientist working on the PolarRES project.

Understanding Climate Change in the Cryosphere with Dr. Ella Gilbert

Ella, who is based at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), presented the final episode of Lift the Ice which uncovered some of the secrets emerging from the ice as it melts. The episode explored how melting ice is contributing to rising sea levels, altering weather patterns, and creating a cascade of ecological and economic impacts around the world. Through her work at BAS and on PolarRES, Ella has gained extensive knowledge and expertise about the impact of climate change on the cryosphere.

Ella’s involvement in the docu-series stems from her years of experience in creating informative videos on climate change and polar science, captivating audiences on platforms like YouTube and TikTok. Recognising her expertise, the Lift the Ice team invited her to host the final episode- “the team was looking for some fresh talent to host each episode of the show, and they took a chance on me – and I’m very glad they did!”- she says.

Throughout the episode, Ella unveils fascinating findings: as the permafrost thaws, historical artefacts of immense significance are emerging, offering glimpses into the past. Moreover, glaciers harbour hidden microbes that possess the potential to revolutionise medicine, holding promise of groundbreaking discoveries. The episode also showcases the awe-inspiring diversity of ice formations, including a vertical Italian glacier that serves as a testament to the wonders that lie within the cryosphere.

Undoubtedly, engaging in pioneering scientific research poses formidable challenges. Ella shares her lessons learned from her own research as part of PolarRES- “I’ve learned that it is extremely difficult to do cutting-edge science using a method that has never been done before! This project has proved challenging in very many ways. But nothing worth doing was ever easy… (at least that’s what I keep telling myself!)”, she adds.

Ella’s research on PolarRES

Within the PolarRES project, Ella’s contributions primarily focus on the weather and climate modelling component. Her involvement entails running sophisticated computer models as part of an ensemble of simulations, enabling the exploration of potential future scenarios for the Polar Regions. Additionally, she delves into the impact of extreme precipitation events in West Antarctica on the region’s ice shelves and glaciers.

The parallel between Lift the Ice and PolarRES lies in their shared commitment to discovery and inspiration. Both endeavours strive to explore the present and predict the future to protect the fragile polar regions. Lift the Ice serves as an expedition to unearth the remarkable and unexpected treasures hidden within the cryosphere.

The more we can learn about the present and the better we can predict the future, the more we can do to protect the polar regions – and PolarRES research is at the forefront of that.”

Given the opportunity to address humanity with her ground-breaking findings, Ella emphasises the significance of the polar regions for all of us. Her message is clear- “the polar regions matter to all of us, and we need to do more to prevent the worst ravages of climate change taking hold there”.

Lift the Ice streaming now

The docu-series is a unique blend of exploration, research, and cutting-edge technology. It aims to explore the mysteries being revealed in the frozen parts of our planet and to understand the impact of climate change on the cryosphere. Lift the Ice also highlights the importance of understanding the impact of climate change and its effects on our planet.

You can watch the trailer here and follow Ella on Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and TikTok (@dr_gilbz).

Follow @PolarRES_eu