SERIES SYNOPSISMarine biologist Professor Lloyd Peck, from the British Antarctic Survey, explores the amazing science of the frozen wilderness of Antarctica - the coldest, windiest, driest and loneliest place in the world.
In Antarctica, temperatures plummet to a blood-chilling minus 89 degrees Celsius, winds blast at up to 200 miles per hour and storms rage for months without end. This unforgiving continent of ice pushes the human body to its extremes.
To investigate how the body copes in Antarctica, Professor Peck hurls himself into a tank of ice-cold water to induce hypothermia, braves the powerful gusts of a wind tunnel and finds out how the weather can make you hallucinate.
He meets a team of young explorers from the West Notts College Polar Challenge 2004 who are walking to the South Pole as a college expedition, and finds out what it takes to get right to the centre of this frozen continent.
Then Lloyd takes viewers to his frozen laboratory - the British Antarctic Survey Rothera Research Station, a tiny isolated community on the edge of this icy continent. Here he finds out what it's like to spend months of darkness thousands of miles from civilisation with the same 20 people for company.
Antarctica is a continent of extremes. How do creatures cope with ice-covered, freezing waters? How could any organism survive on land where high wind speeds and very low humidity strip water away in an instant? How do they cope with fluctuating temperatures, high doses of ultra-violet light and months of total darkness?
Lloyd Peck takes viewers on a journey of adaptation and cunning. From the bottom of the ocean to deep inside the rocks of Antarctica itself, he searches out the extraordinary organisms that make this continent their home.
In the icy oceans he reveals a land of giants and fish with built-in antifreeze, and searches out the fattest creature on the planet - is it the gigantically obese elephant seal or the chubby emperor penguin?
Which creature is the true king of lard? And are all these amazing creatures walking the tightrope of extinction? Parts of Antarctica are warming. Will all of these incredible adaptations prove to be their Achilles' heel as they prove too specialised to cope with the changes?
Thousands and thousands of miles of brilliant white. Millions and millions of tons of ice. But why is Antarctica a frozen continent? Why is this mass of ice so important to each and every one of us? And why is it so vital that scientists try and understand this remarkable kingdom?
Lloyd Peck casts light on these mysteries by leaping down crevasses, grappling with supercomputers and hunting mighty icebergs. He uncovers the past, present and future of Antarctica, and discovers that it hasn't always been the cold, desolate desert it is today. He finds a continent that is constantly changing, where billions and billions of tons of ice are always on the move. A continent criss-crossed by rafts of ice so large they can be seen from space, sweeping relentlessly from the centre of the continent to the surrounding oceans.
This ice holds the key to some of the biggest mysteries on the planet. The past million years are frozen in time, deep inside this mass of ice. It provides an unrivalled snapshot of the turbulent history of the planet, telling how the earth has adapted to change. But it doesn't just record the past, it could shape the future, dictate the weather and decide which countries will be wiped from the map.
So what is really going to happen to the world? Are we staring down the barrel of an ice age? Is there anything we can do about it? Can we be certain of the day after tomorrow?