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"Many of the changes we are seeing, are unfolding faster than our ability to really understand them."
-- Mark Serreze, National Snow and Ice Data Center
"Our relationship with Ice is one that has dramatically, if not violently shifted from of 'Ahh don't worry about it' to one of 'Boy this is one of the most important Controllers of future environment of the planet.' "
-- James White, University of Colorado at Boulder

Quotes from PBS: NOVA -- Extreme Ice Video

Turns out Ice Sheet physics is much more dynamic, than most Scientists thought, even a decade ago.  In this case "dynamic" is not good -- especially for the living things, that tend to adapt on much more slower time scales.

Here is some of the "visual evidence" of that of the Extreme Ice Melt, taking place -- right before our eyes ... thanks to this daring project.

Photographing Climate Change
by David Levin, NOVA -- 02.01.09

In this audio slide show, James Balog shares the stories behind startling images from his Extreme Ice Survey, a three-year photographic study which documented the unprecedented melting of the world's glaciers and ice sheets. Balog considers himself a modern hunter-gatherer, collecting arresting visual evidence of climate change, which many scientists agree is proof of human-caused global warming.

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Interactive Slide Show -- Click Here

Photographing Earth's Melting Ice -- Slide Show Transcript

James Balog's Extreme Ice Survey [EIS] -- February 1, 2009

My name's James Balog. I've been a nature photographer for 30 years. I work primarily for National Geographic. I was originally trained as a geologist early in my life, and I've been an avid mountaineer for my entire life. And the photography and the geology and the mountaineering have all come together in this enormous multi-year project I'm working on called The Extreme Ice Survey.

The Extreme Ice Survey, which we refer to as EIS, is a collaborative project involving leading glaciologists, atmospheric scientists and image makers. What we're trying to do is make a visual record, collecting evidence of the changes that are happening to glaciers and ice sheets around the world, and bring that evidence home and show the immediacy and reality of climate change.

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There's thousands of these lakes painted across the surface of the ice. As melt is running off in the spring and summer it pools up in these lakes for a while, and then it'll run off into a channel perhaps or sometimes we've been discovering there will be these crevasses that will open up in the floor of these lakes. And all of a sudden, you'll have a huge lake that'll just, poof, just vanish, just drain right down through the ice in a matter of an hour or two or three or three or four.

When these melt lakes and the Moulins drain down to the bottom of the ice sheet, they're carrying heat down into the bottom of the ice. You know, water is warmer than ice, right? And what is apparently happening is that parts of the base of the sheet that had been frozen are getting thawed out by having this liquid water carrying heat moving past them. So, this is part of a cycle of warming up the ice and speeding up its flow out into the ocean.

So, these 1000's of newly formed "Meltwater Moulins" are acting as crevasse-conduits to rapidly grease the Glacier skids ... ?

What were previously 'land bound' Ice sheets and Glaciers are quickly becoming 'water cushioned' conveyors of {once relatively} immovable ice, directly out to the sea.  Surprise!

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Wikimedia Commons

Is that what you call, one of them "Positive Feedback" Loops?

Could be.

The recent Ice loss from the Columbia Glacier in Alaska, is deeper than the Empire State building, is high.

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James Balog's Extreme Ice Survey [EIS] -- is the largest photographic study of the Cryosphere ever attempted.

He is deploying 26 time-lapse cameras across the Northern Hemisphere, and programming them to shoot a frame every daylight hour, for 3 years.

It is a massive challenge in the most hostile regions on earth ...

Wow, now that's activism ... for all the world to see.

PBS: NOVA -- Extreme Ice Video

An acclaimed photographer [James Balog] joins scientists to document the runaway melting of glaciers.

Video Link

[These time-lapsed dynamic Glaciers, are best viewed in full screen mode.]

"My hope is that it will be powerful and immediate enough that people will say 'Yah, I get it. I understand it. This is real.  This is forensic evidence of the reality of what's happening.' "
-- James Balog, Nature Photographer

Some closing words from ...

James Balog, Nature Photographer, Extreme Ice Survey, Interactive Slide Show


There's a tremendous amount of confusion in this society about what's going on with climate change. People have heard so many stories that a lot of people are sort of giving up and saying, "It's all just natural variation." I'm here to tell you it is not natural variation. And that is very, very, very well-documented in the scientific record.

And through these pictures, and through the EIS, and through what you're doing with books, and films, and TV shows, we can get the story out there in a way that we can't if we simply publish professional papers and speak to the specialists in the field. So I think science and art both have something to say to the public about what's going on. And that's what motivates me; I think with these tools we have a mechanism for telling the truth and bringing the evidence to the public.

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It's as stunningly beautiful, as it is stunningly impactful ...

Sometimes you never realize what you had, til it's gone.

May this new year not continue to be, one of those times.

Originally posted to Digging up those Facts ... for over 8 years. on Fri Dec 30, 2011 at 11:56 AM PST.

Also republished by DK GreenRoots.

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