Roald AmundsenDec. 14, 1911: Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen (at right) arrives at the South Pole with a team of four. Amundsen had been locked in a bitter race to be the first to reach the Pole. Robert F. Scott’s British team gets there a month later, and tragedy follows their disappointment: ll of Scott’s team perishes on the return trip; all of Amundsen’s team returns safely.

Dec. 14, 1987: Marine scientists report one of the first instances of widespread “bleaching” of coral in the Caribbean. Coral structures are extremely sensitive to ocean temperature changes and when stressed, they expel the algae that help the coral survive — the lack of algae turns the colorful coral to a stark white.

Dec. 14, 2009: The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) issues its “climate change species hit list” of the species most likely to be endangered by climate change.   Prominent on the list are species ranging from the tropics to both Poles:  Staghorn corals, koalas, leatherback turtles, beluga whales, the Arctic fox and Emperor penguins.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

This feature is compiled by Peter Dykstra, an MNN contributor and publisher of Environmental Health News and The Daily Climate.

December 14
Roald Amundsen arrives at the South Pole, widespread bleaching of coral is reported, and IUCN identifies species most likely to be affected by climate change.