Thu Sep 11, 2003
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Hi, I'm Bryan Yeaton for The Weather Notebook. Meteorologist Jack Williams has published a new
book The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Arctic and Antarctic following a 1999 visit to the
BRYAN: Why do you think there's such a focus on Antarctica?
JACK: Well, Shackelton's story, of course. They were going to land on the part of Antarctica
south of the Atlantic Ocean and cross the whole continent - which would have been a first. The
ship got caught in the ice. It drifted with the ice for a long time then the ice finally
broke the ship apart and everyone survived.
I'd never written much about biology, biological sciences, and doing the book required me to
learn a lot about how life lives in the Arctic, lives in the Antarctic. Most people know,
although you might not, that you know polar bears live in the Arctic and penguins live in the
Antarctic and penguins would never be able to live the way they do in a place with polar bears
because polar bears would find them very easy eating.
JACK: Right. Tasty. Whereas, in the Arctic the seals have managed to survived because
they've essentially found ways to hide from polar bears and to run and dive into a hole in the
ice when they see a polar bear coming.
BRYAN: So, you became a researcher again.
JACK: Oh, exactly. Not only with explorers, with the wildlife, and all of the life including
algae that lives on the bottom of the ice and is the basis of the food web and the oceans, in
the Arctic Ocean and also the southern ocean around Antarctica.
Our show is funded by grants from Subaru of America, and The National Science Foundation.