Monday, July 25 2016

            We Deliver News to the Sierra
News Fire News spacer Latest News spacer Regional News spacer California News spacer USA News spacer World News spacer Op-Ed spacer Enviro News spacer Sci Tech News spacer Life spacer Odd News spacer Cartoons spacer
Features The Calendar features features Weather features Sierra NightSky features features features Road Conditions features Home spacer

Glaciers on the slide


By: Kieran Cooke, Climate News Network

Greenland’s glaciers face trouble – and so do many others across the world Image: Christine Zenino
March 3, 2013 - You'd have to worry about James Balog's knees. He has an operation on one leg and then, for a bit of gentle recuperation, goes walking on a glacier. Not surprisingly, before too long he needs to return to the surgeon's table: then it's back to the ice once more, only this time Balog is being lowered down into a crevasse, a cascade of freezing glacier melt water rushing within inches of his camera.

Balog is a photographer who has specialised for many years in what he describes as the "contact zone" between humans and nature. His work includes photos and documentaries on animals and forests, on the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia, on Hurricane Katrina and much, much more.

In 2006 he was given an assignment by National Geographic magazine to photograph glaciers and ice formations. He became a glacier groupie and the following year started the Extreme Ice Survey (EIS), photographing and filming glaciers round the world. Chasing Ice, released in the US last year and now doing the rounds of selected cinemas in the UK, captures the work of the EIS project.

Balog was once a climate change sceptic. Not any more. He and his team set up 28 time lapse cameras filming glaciers from Mount Everest in Nepal to Alaska, Greenland, Iceland and the Rockies in the US. Every half hour of daylight the cameras would click away, recording changes in glacier shape and size. The results, seen in the film, are startlingly clear.

"This is the memory of the landscape", says Balog, standing by one of his cameras at a glacier in Greenland and holding up a small file of film. "I never imagined you could see glaciers this big disappearing in such a short space of time. That landscape is gone and may never be seen again in the history of civilisation."

Balog now tours the world with his photos and film showing, in his words, "how extraordinary amounts of ice are disappearing with shocking speed." He wants people to see for themselves the visual evidence of climate change. "Seeing is believing", he says.

Up an ice field on crutches

Chasing Ice is visually stunning: at one point young members of the survey team are camped out on the ice overlooking the Illulissat or Jakobshavn glacier half way up the west coast of Greenland. They've been there for days – the wind its threatening to blow the tent away, the cold is intense.

Then, in little over an hour, a piece of glacier more than half the size of Manhattan Island breaks or "calves" away. It's the first time such a large-scale calving event has been captured on film. Giant pieces of ice shoot 600 feet up in the air, the glacier doing cartwheels, the deep, roaring sound echoing like the last breath of some giant, fatally wounded animal.

"The only way that you can really try to put it into scale with human reference is if you imagine Manhattan, and all of a sudden, all of those buildings just start to rumble, and quake, and peel off, fall over, and roll around", says one of the film-makers. "This whole massive city just breaking apart in front of your eyes."

The film was not an easy one to make, with delicate electronic equipment being placed in some of the harshest conditions on the planet. Cameras would have to be secured by elaborate systems of anchors and wires. At one point Balog's team return to the cameras to find the equipment has failed and months of filming has been lost.

And then there are those knees. Towards the end of the film Balog is seen struggling up an ice field on crutches. There's a postcript saying his knees have been repaired once again, this time with the aid of stem cell surgery. The EIS project is ongoing. Let's hope the knees keep going as well. – Climate News Network: www.climatenewsnetwork.org


Help us bring you more news. Be a real reader: Support YubaNet

By submitting a comment you consent to our rules. You must use your real first and last name, not a nickname or alias. A comment here is just like a letter to the editor or a post on Facebook. Thank you.


Latest Headlines


Fuelling the fire: new coal technologies spell disaster for climate

Using Urban Pigeons to Monitor Lead Pollution

Policy makers and ecologists must develop a more constructive dialogue to save the planet

Cougars Could Save Lives by Lowering Vehicle Collisions with Deer

Historic Petition Calls on Obama Administration to Immediately Halt All New Fossil Fuel Leases on Federal Lands

Gulf Stream slowdown to spare Europe from worst of climate change

Agreement: Monarch Butterfly to Get Endangered Species Act Protection Decision by 2019

Why river floodplains are key to preserving nature and biodiversity in the western US

Poll finds Montanans strongly support public lands, value access to hiking, hunting and fishing

Laos & Cambodia rosewood exports violate UN treaty






NEWS . Fire News . Latest . Regional . California . USA . World . Op-Ed . Enviro . Sci/Tech . Life . Odd News . Cartoons
FEATURES . The Calendar .Weather . Sierra NightSky. Road Conditions
YubaNet.com . Advertising. About Us . Support YubaNet . Contact Us . Terms of Use . Privacy

YubaNet.com © 1999-2016
Nevada City, California (530) 478-9600