COP26 Polar Zero Exhibition

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If you are at COP26 Green Zone do pop into this new immersive exhibition at Glasgow Science Centre, Polar Zero injects an artistic and cultural dimension to the climate negotiations at the Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26) in November this year.

Polar Zero is a collaboration between British Antarctic Survey (BAS), global engineering and consulting firm Arup and the Royal College of Art (RCA), is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

The exhibition features an original glass sculpture encasing Antarctic air from the year 1765 – the date that scientists say predates the Industrial Revolution – and an Antarctic ice core containing trapped air bubbles that reveal a unique record of our past climate. Locked deep in Antarctic ice is a unique archive of the Earth’s history reaching back 800,000 years. Tiny bubbles of air that were trapped as snow fell reveal the astonishing rate of increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide since the start of the Industrial Revolution.

As you move around this exhibition you will become an integral part of the story. Polar Zero invites you to take a moment to reflect on what our past means for the present and future climate.

There are three elements to the Polar Zero exhibition:

  • 1765 ‘Air’
  • Ice Core
  • Ice Stories

1765 ‘AIR’

A cylindrical glass sculpture encases an ampule of genuine Antarctic air from the year 1765. Gases, including carbon dioxide and methane from the pre-Industrial Revolution era, capture a pivotal moment in Earth’s history.

A close-up of the ampule of genuine Antarctic air from the year 1765 is encased in a cylindrical glass sculpture; a fusion of art, science and engineering. Credit: BAS.


Experience the sound of ancient air bubbles popping as an Antarctic Peninsula ice core emerges from an insulated tube. As it melts and drips away it marks – in an artistic sense – the fragility of the polar ice.

A close up of blue water
Trapped air bubbles in a segment of Antarctic ice core. Credit: BAS.


Ice Stories draws on personal anecdotes, memories and oral testimonies from the national and international scientists and experts whose lived experiences of the Arctic and Antarctic facilitate and enable their narrative futures to be written.

ice stories composite
The unique experiences and perspectives of people who have worked with Antarctic ice are captured in the Ice Stories series. Credit: BAS.

For further details and to plan your visit to Glasgow Science Centre:

For those unable to attend in person, you can explore the science, art and engineering of the Polar Zero exhibition here on the BAS website:

Keep an eye on BAS social media for further details, and join the conversation with #PolarZero.


Enjoy an online preview of the Polar Zero exhibition at Glasgow Science Centre’s digital science festival on climate change, Curious About Our Planet: