April 1, 2007
(CBS) If you were waiting for the day global warming would change the world, that day is here. It’s happening, far from civilization’s notice, in a place about as remote as you can get. Scientists believed Antarctica, at the bottom of the world, was too vast, too remote, to be bothered by climate change any time soon. But now glaciers are setting speed records for melting. Whole colonies of penguins are disappearing. Why does it matter? Antarctica is a climate giant, driving ocean and wind currents worldwide, with enormous potential to raise sea levels. To find out what’s happening down south, 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley set out on an expedition; the first stop was the high mountains of Patagonia in Chile, where you can actually see a new age beginning.
The glacier O’Higgins, a mass of ice, has been frozen for tens of thousands of years in the mountains of southern Chile. O’Higgins is spectacular for its beauty, but for a scientist like Gino Casassa it’s breathtaking for the speed it is disappearing – the glacier is morphing into a lake, retreating more than any glacier ...full text