Climate Studies Are Crucial, but Not Easy

Climate-Change Studies in Antarctica Are Crucial, if Not Straightforward 1

Chronicle photo by Paul Basken

The Canada Glacier reaches an end at Antarctica's Lake Hoare, where scientists have set up a field camp to study factors that contribute to glacial melting and the types of life that can survive in barren environments.

The Canada Glacier comes to an abrupt and majestic end in the Taylor Valley, in the form of a 60-foot-high wall of ice that dwarfs the tents of the climate scientists who sleep beneath it. There, in bright summer sunshine, the glacier melts steadily into a barren hillside, slowly filling Lake Hoare.

Nearby, a wooden research hut that has stood along the lake since 1978 sits boxed up for relocation because of the rising water levels. It's tough to imagine a more compelling image of the