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Frozen Ocean

   2022    Nature
At the top of our planet lies a magical realm, the Arctic Ocean. After four months of winter darkness, the sun returns to reveal a frozen ocean covered in ice. Mother polar bears emerge from their hillside dens and lead their cubs down to the sea ice to hunt, while a young male and female bear forge a surprising friendship out on the ice.
For others, the frozen sea is a trap. A pod of beluga whales has been confined to an ice hole for five months, slowly starving to death as the food around them runs out. Their salvation lies in the strengthening sun that comes with spring, melting the sea ice, allowing their escape.
Off the east coast of Greenland, the floating pack ice in spring is a nursery ground for harp seals. Mothers and pups have just a few weeks together for the pup to learn to swim before she leaves him to fend for himself. But in today’s warming climate, storms can tip helpless youngsters into the sea before they are strong enough to fend for themselves.
Summer is a time of plenty in the Arctic Ocean as plankton blooms feed millions of tiny mouths, such as bizarre skeleton shrimps, as well as the biggest: bowhead whales. These ancient and long-lived whales arrive en masse every year at secret locations known as whale spas. But today, with the loss of summer sea ice, their peace is shattered by orcas from the south. These daring predators are bold enough to take on the much larger bowheads, targeting their vulnerable calves.
The 24-hour daylight of the Arctic summer attracts visitors from afar, including huge flocks of seabirds like crested auklets. A male must use both his song and a secret tangerine perfume if he is to attract a mate. For the resident walrus, the summer heat can be unbearable. After hauling himself to the beach to moult, an old male uses an ingenious technique to get himself back to the cool of the water - a roly-poly!
Summers in the Arctic today bring record-breaking heat. With climate change, it is warming faster than anywhere else on Earth. It is predicted that the Arctic Ocean could become ice-free each summer by 2035, raising new challenges for polar bears. Without sea ice, more and more bears are becoming stranded on remote Arctic islands. It's a dangerous place to be for a mother bear with cubs, surrounded by larger, predatory males.
Series: Frozen Planet II

Frozen Lands

   2022    Nature
In the far north of our planet lies the largest land habitat on earth, home to snow-covered forests and the icy open tundra. These are lands of extremes that push animals to their limits: in winter they are so cold that much of the ground has remained frozen since the last ice age. To stand any chance of survival, animals must adapt in extreme ways: here a super pack of wolves, 25 strong, has come together to take on the only large prey available to them in winter, American bison.
On the featureless tundra, an Arctic fox must strike a living alone. She is a wanderer and will roam many hundreds of miles searching for tiny lemmings, hidden deep underground. The only way to reach them is with a head dive. In the remote far east of Russia, a rare Amur leopard prowls the seemingly empty, snow-covered forest. With little prey available, it must use its ingenuity to find a meal. It follows crows in the hope of finding carrion, but it must not stay long, for it shares the forest with a far larger but equally hungry big cat, the Siberian tiger.
As spring arrives, the forests begin to thaw and life returns. Beneath the ground, a nest of tiny painted turtle hatchlings now emerge, having remained frozen in a state of suspended animation throughout winter. To the north, it is a further month before the sun’s warmth baths the frozen ground of the tundra. Tucked away underground lies a tiny snow queen – a Lapland bumble bee. She is the sole survivor of her colony - the rest perished in the winter freeze - but her larger size, her furry body and antifreeze in her blood have allowed her to survive. Now she is in a hurry. She must feed herself and raise a brood in the brief window of summer while the flowers are in bloom.
Snowy owls also use the open tundra to breed: one pair have raised a nest full of fluffy chicks. With 24-hour daylight in which to hunt, the dedicated parents bring back meal after meal for their ever-growing brood. But one day, they return to find the nest empty.
Today, the biggest challenge in the tundra is climate change. Warming summers are melting the permafrost deep within the soil, causing the ground to thaw and, in places, the land to collapse. These changes are impacting the animals too. Caribou arrive in herds of 200,000 individuals to raise their calves in the rich pastures, but warming means mosquitos emerge sooner and bother the calves before they have had a chance to gain strength. The parents drive their young to cooler, mosquito-free land, but to get there they must cross rivers running with increased meltwater and escape hungry grizzly bears. They, like much of the tundra's wildlife, are adapted to live in the extremes - but the challenge of today’s warming climate could be one extreme too many.
Series: Frozen Planet II

Dark History of Earth

   2022    Sicence
Earth's history is marked by one cosmic disaster after another, forging the path of human evolution. Asteroid and comet collisions, flares from the Sun, mass extinctions, supernova explosions, cosmic ray bombardment. You name it, we've experienced it. It's kind of a miracle we're here at all. Now, experts explore how the Earth has teetered on the verge of destruction.
Series: How the Universe Works Season 10

The Sun

   2021    Nature
From the frozen poles to the searing deserts, this episode shows how animals have come up with strategies to survive the uneven amounts of sunlight that fall on our planet over the course of a year. The exception is on the equator, where the duration of day and night remain the same throughout the year. Here, this guaranteed sunlight drives the great diversity of life in the tropical jungles.
Series: A Perfect Planet

Solar

   2021    Technology
We face one of the greatest challenges in the history of humanity, to eliminate the fuels that have driven progress and technology for over a century, while our thirst for energy only grows. The sun is the biggest source of energy in the solar system. It's like a nuclear reactor in the sky, and it provides endless power. If we can harvest just fractions of this, it can power all our consumption. Innovators are searching for new ways to capture more of the sun’s power, and make it available through the night, everywhere.
Series: Engineering the Future Series 3

Humans

   2021    Nature
A new force threatens our perfect planet. In the past, five mass extinction events were caused by cataclysmic volcanic eruptions. It was not the lava or ash that wiped out life, but an invisible gas released by volcanoes: carbon dioxide. Almost every part of modern life depends on energy created by burning fossil fuels, and this produces CO2 in huge amounts. Humans are changing our planet so rapidly, it’s affecting earth’s life support systems: our weather, our oceans and the living world. The greatest change to be made is in how we create energy, and the planet is brimming with natural power that can help us do just that. It’s these forces of nature - the wind, the sun, waves and geothermal energy - that hold the key to our future.
Through compelling animal-led stories and expert interviews, we discover how CO2 is destabilising our planet. We meet rescued orphaned elephants in Kenya, victims of ever worsening droughts, and join ocean patrols off the coast of Gabon fighting to save endangered sharks. In the Amazon, we witness wildlife teams saving animals in the shrinking forests, and in San Diego we enter a cryogenic zoo preserving the DNA of endangered species before they become extinct.
Series: A Perfect Planet
Planet Earth II

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