Chasing Ice

Finally got the chance to see this documentary last night. It’s good! Everyone should see it. What’s it about? It’s about ice melting, lot’s of ice melting. From the website:

In the spring of 2005, acclaimed environmental photographer James Balog headed to the Arctic on a tricky assignment for National Geographic: to capture images to help tell the story of the Earth’s changing climate. Even with a scientific upbringing, Balog had been a skeptic about climate change. But that first trip north opened his eyes to the biggest story in human history and sparked a challenge within him that would put his career and his very well-being at risk.
Chasing Ice is the story of one man’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of our changing planet. Within months of that first trip to Iceland, the photographer conceived the boldest expedition of his life: The Extreme Ice Survey. With a band of young adventurers in tow, Balog began deploying revolutionary time-lapse cameras across the brutal Arctic to capture a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers.
As the debate polarizes America and the intensity of natural disasters ramps up globally, Balog finds himself at the end of his tether. Battling untested technology in subzero conditions, he comes face to face with his own mortality. It takes years for Balog to see the fruits of his labor. His hauntingly beautiful videos compress years into seconds and capture ancient mountains of ice in motion as they disappear at a breathtaking rate. Chasing Ice depicts a photographer trying to deliver evidence and hope to our carbon-powered planet.

There was some controversy as to why Chasing Ice wasn’t nominated for an Oscar. This Grist article attempts to explain it.

This gives me a chance to do some other ice stories that I’ve found.

“In Sign of Warming, 1,600 Years of Ice in Andes Melted in 25 Years“–This New York Times article states, “Glacial ice in the Peruvian Andes that took at least 1,600 years to form has melted in just 25 years, scientists reported Thursday, the latest indication that the recent spike in global temperatures has thrown the natural world out of balance.The evidence comes from a remarkable find at the margins of the Quelccaya ice cap in Peru, the world’s largest tropical ice sheet. Rapid melting there in the modern era is uncovering plants that were locked in a deep freeze when the glacier advanced many thousands of years ago.”

Forests growing in thawed-out Arctic–This Grist article explains, “Where not so long ago there was nothing but ice, now there are miles of forests. As frigid Arctic tundras have melted during the past 30 years, swaths of the northern lands have grown over with lush stands of trees, bushes, and other plants. That’s the conclusion of NASA-funded scientists who studied 30 years of satellite data. They published their results Sunday in the journal Nature Climate Change.”
 This graphic shows the extent of the loss of Arctic Ice since 1997. Andy Lee Robinson created it. He states, “I became interested in climate science and fascinated by the shocking decline of Arctic sea ice – the most sensitive canary in the coalmine indicator of the effect that CO2 is having on our home.
I followed the science, researched the data and used my experience and intuition to create the iconic Arctic Death Spiral.
It went viral, and I estimate it’s had about a million views so far.
It sums up very succinctly, artistically and vividly what is happening, and anyone that isn’t as shocked by it as me, really doesn’t (or doesn’t want to), understand the implications.
I will update it every month as new data comes in.”
Massive ice sheets melting ‘at rate of 300bn tonnes a year’, climate satellite shows–“A satellite that measures gravity fluctuations on Earth due to changes in the massive ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica has detected a rapid acceleration in the melting of glacier ice over the past decade, which could have a dramatic impact on sea levels around the world.
The sheets are losing around 300 billion tonnes of ice a year, the research indicates.” This article is here.
Jokulhlaup–an Icelandic word meaning “glacier leap.” Read why Juneau, Alaska is worried.
Glacier National Park Prepares for Ice-Free Future–This National Geography article tell us why. “Though beautiful, the hike feels a bit like a hospice visit. Grinnell Glacier has lost 90 percent of its ice in the last century. Of the 150 glaciers that speckled Glacier National Park at its founding in 1910, only 25 remain. The latest predictions indicate that all of the glaciers in Glacier National Park will be gone by 2030. Cause of death: slow retreat due to temperature rise.”

Warm water under Antarctic glacier spurs astonishing rate of melting–“Intensive melting under the Pine Island ice shelf, as observed in our study, could potentially lead to the speed-up and ultimate break-up of the ice shelf,” David Holland, a professor of mathematics at the Center for Atmosphere Ocean Science at New York University, said in a statement. “That’s important, as this ice shelf is currently holding back inland ice, and without that restraining force, the Pine Island catchment basin could further contribute to global sea-level rise.”
I could do some more but all this talk about ice is making me cold. Will return when I warm up.


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