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Throwing (Very) Cold Water On Climate-Change Deniers

Saturday 14 April 2012

The new film Chasing Ice is about James Balog, an award-winning photographer who spent much of the last decade doing a photo survey of glaciers in Greenland, Iceland, Alaska, and Montana.

What he’s found should be profoundly disturbing to everyone: the glaciers in the Northern Hemisphere, which have been stable, or at least in a fairly slow retreat through the end of the last century, are now in full retreat. The interesting bit is that they are not just retreating in their usual mode of growing in the winter, then calving in the summer, rinse, repeat; now, they are also melting on top, accelerated by deposits of carbon-rich soot from a variety of natural and man-made sources, with the melt running into moulins that undermine the glaciers themselves and cause them to sink along their entire length. It’s this effect that seems to be the prime mover of the acceleration of their collapse.

As expected, the film is a visual treat. It’s not just a collage of beautiful shots with a little narrative to string them together; there are actually few full-frame landscape stills. This is more a making-of film, about Balog’s process of creating his Extreme Ice Survey, which used dozens of remotely placed still camera to capture hundreds of thousands of high quality stills over about four years, in order to document the glaciers’ retreat.

“Epic” is an appropriate word for this film, in its scope (years of documentary evidence across dozens of glaciers) and importance to the climate change debate.

Watch it for yourself, and see if you can still believe that the climate isn’t changing, and rapidly, if you weren’t already there.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Monday 16 April 2012 3:31 AM

    Despite headlines, Asia’s ice sheets in decline too! http://thenatsci.wordpress.com/2012/04/16/the-glaciers-are-growing-3/

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