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Global warming, and how to combat it, has provoked intense debate, changed the way we see the planet and created headlines around the world. But when and how did scientists first discover global warming, why has it led to such furious debate? In this three-part series geologist Dr Iain Stewart presents a definitive guide to the history of climate change.
Battle Begins uncovers some of the great unsung heroes of climate change science, and introduces us to a secret organisation of American government scientists, known as Jason, who wrote the first official report on global warming as far back as 1979. By the late 1980s global warming had already become a serious political issue. It looked as if the world was uniting to take action. But it turned out to be a false dawn.
The Climate Wars
Humboldt Epic Explorer
In 1799, the German scientist Alexander von Humboldt embarked on a perilous journey of discovery across South America. It would take him to the deepest jungle near the Orinoco and to the heights of the Andes. His aim was twofold: to conduct the first scientific survey of South America and to discover how the natural world actually works — at a time when most scientists believed that the world was created less than 6,000 years ago. He later became a leading scientific figure and champion of the abolitionist movement in the US.
This extremely visual docudrama follows Humboldt’s extraordinary path. Travelling in Humboldt’s footsteps is historian Andrea Wulf, whose book on Humboldt became a worldwide bestseller. For good reason, since Humboldt’s ideas on the planet’s fragile web of life are as important today as they were 220 years ago.
Hunting for Martian Life. The Perseverance Rover
2020 Technology HD
Meet Perseverance, NASA's latest rover, as it heads to Mars to answer one question: did life exist on the red planet? On the way, it will lay the foundation for human exploration of our closest neighbour.
Today, Mars is hostile to life. It's too cold for water to stay liquid on the surface, and the thin atmosphere lets through high levels of radiation, potentially sterilizing the upper part of the soil. But it wasn't always like this. Some 3.5 billion years ago or more, water was flowing on the surface. It carved channels still visible today and pooled in impact craters. A thicker carbon dioxide atmosphere would have blocked more of the harmful radiation. The Mars 2020/Perseverance rover is designed to better understand the geology of Mars and seek signs of ancient life. The mission will collect and store a set of rock and soil samples that could be returned to Earth in the future. It will also test new technology to benefit future robotic and human exploration of Mars, as the Ingenuity Helicopter.
Underwater Universe of the Orda Cave
2017 Nature HD
Located beneath Russia's Ural Mountains, Orda Cave is legendary among divers for its unique beauty. The cave's waters are clearest in winter, when the land above lies frozen. With temperatures approaching minus 40 degrees, NHK attempts to film the cave for the first time ever using 4K cameras. Scientists give them insight into the cave's origins, enabling the crew to uncover the miraculous story of how the cave was naturally formed 300 million years ago by climate change and a shifting landscape.
40,000 years ago the steppes of Eurasia were home to our closest human relative, the Neanderthals. Recent genetic and archaeological discoveries have proven that they were not the dim-witted cave dwellers we long thought they were. In fact, they were cultured, technologically savvy and more like us than we ever imagined! So why did they disappear? We accompany scientists on an exciting search for an answer to this question and come to a startling conclusion... A climate change due to a cataclysmic event.
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