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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

James Balog & the Extreme Ice Survey (EIS)

As the accompanying article explains, in Greenland on July 6-7, satellite imagery revealed one of the largest glacial calvings ever documented. A 2.7-square-mile chunk of Greenland’s Jakobshavn Isbrae glacier, one-eighth the size of New York’s Manhattan Island, broke off into the ocean!

At the risk of being called an alarmist frightened by the unknown aspects and scale of potential climate change, I think this event might be related. But rather than digress into whether this is 'natural' or not, it is the perfect opportunity to introduce you to another friend and iLCP Fellow, Jim Balog. Jim has worked for years as a photojournalist reporting on natural disasters such as the tsunami in Indonesia and global climate change. He has also done remarkable portrait work of animals and great trees, published as the books ANIMAL and TREE.

In Jim's words, however, he has always been frustrated that global warming is a difficult thing to depict. Then he had a truly genius idea. Working with many sponsors and help from tech staff at National Geographic, Jim developed digital camera systems that drew solar power into a weather-protected housing where a perpetually-charged camera was shooting still imagery every so many designated hours of each day. These boxed camera systems were then bolted onto the fiord walls of significant retreating glaciers all over the world as part of an ongoing project called the Extreme Ice Survey (EIS). Several times a year the digital file card is collected from each of the cameras and all of the single images are 'morphed' into flickering motion films of the glaciers 'in action', so to speak. You need to see these images.  See Jim's Extreme Ice Survey (EIS) video and time-lapse gallery here.  Be patient. They load slowly because there is SO much information. Watch them several times. After seeing the obvious back-and-forth of the ice and the calving, spend time watching the 'flow' of ice in the field behind the calving walls. In this particular Greenland glacier timelapse video you can see the entire icecap pouring over the top of the fiord and descending down onto the glacier, pushing it forward.

There before your eyes, the icecap/icefield is feeding the glacier, which in turn is calving immense amounts of ice into the Atlantic.

Freaking Amazing!!!!!! This is not my definition of the term 'glacial' - suggesting something moving slowly.

Jim has cameras in the fiord of the glacier that is featured above. He probably has some amazing images from this event that have not yet been collected and posted, but he does add new things all of the time and his site NEVER ceases to startle me about the REALITIES of climate change. If you don¹' believe things are changing RAPIDLY, this might cause you to reconsider. Please enjoy the visual journey of my Fellow iLCP photographer, Jim Balog, and check out his books as well.


1 comment:

  1. Hey Robert, I've kept tabs on Jim's work since you discussed him last summer in Missoula. Thanks for the earlier recommendation and the recent reminder of this powerful work. Very important that as many people as possible sees this!


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