Ecocentric

ICE: Portraits of Vanishing Glaciers

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I’ve been fortunate enough to travel around the world as TIME’s environment correspondent: to rainforests, Himalayan mountains, coral reefs. But far and away the most singular spot I ever visited was the far north of Greenland. I saw vast flat ice sheets that spread in all directions, without end. I saw icebergs that could dwarf an ocean liner, suspended in the purest cerulean blue. I saw glaciers so vast as to seem indestructible—and I heard earth-shattering crack when they broke apart.

As the environmental photographer James Balog shows in his new book Ice: Portraits of Vanishing Glaciers, the deep ice of the poles is far from invulnerable. Balog’s breathtaking pictures show how erosion and melting temperatures take their toll on the glaciers, shrinking and carving them.

The result is dazzling to look at, but terrifying for the planet. As glaciers melt, more and more water flows into the oceans, raising sea levels. This July scientists were surprised to see the entire Greenland ice sheet essentially turn to mush for a few days in an unusually rapid thaw. Arctic sea ice melted to its smallest extent this summer in decades. The day could well come when the only place will be able to see glaciers will be photographs like those in Ice.

More Photography from Time

25 comments
AnumakondaJagadeesh
AnumakondaJagadeesh

Magnificient pictures. One must see.Dr.A.Jagadeesh  Nellore(AP),India

AveryRobertson
AveryRobertson

Glacier Park in the US was a magnificient park next to Yellowstone, but the glaciers are almost gone there too.. what do we call it when it happens?  "The Worlds Apathy Park"?

aurorainiceland
aurorainiceland

I live in Iceland and we are seeing the glaciers disappear in front of our eyes - slowly and slowly - it is sad. We developed some Ice climbing tour for you to enjoy them in your Iceland holidays before they are all gone! Hope you will join us before it is too late

tma_sierrahills
tma_sierrahills

As a conservative, or radical traditionalist, I am waiting for more of my fellow "conservatives" to jump into the Comments section beneath this review to make their typical claims, such as, say, it is well documented that the earth's glaciers have for many years been growing by leaps and bounds. I am also entertained by the people who say, first, that global warming is a myth, second, that even if it is happening, it is not man-made, and, third, even if it is happening and it is man-made, it is not a bad thing, since, for example, Greenland will be able to put in lush fields of watermelon and summer squash. Now that's what I call covering all bases. 

I will give them this. Al Gore doesn't really care that much about the environment, or he would not be an overpopulation/open-borders apologist. But you can't help wondering how much industry money is behind some of these people. Of course many industries eventually will be pulled under by global warming, but most people are not concerned about some problem that is going to reach its crisis stage decades down the line, again, as our virulent anti-environment anti-Western civilization open-borders policies attest. 

Knowledge
Knowledge

Total solar output is now measured to vary (over the last three 11-year sunspot cycles) by approximately 0.1%, or about 1.3 Watts per square meter (W/m2) peak-to-trough from solar maximum to solar minimum during the 11-year sunspot cycle.

flatpicker01
flatpicker01

I wonder why they don't report a record ice this year on the bottom of the planet ? It would probably have an impact on their global warming rheory.

ars5151
ars5151

FYI, the ice age is over. Of course the ice is going to melt....

alex.ormeno
alex.ormeno

Ha ha Republican scientists (Rush Limbaugh included) believe that since one cannot see the trillion tons CO2 and other greenhouse gasses that we spit into the atmosphere every month; it shouldn’t have any effect on climate…

j0eschm0e
j0eschm0e

glaciers can only stack so high, then they proceed to travel under great gravity. seems no one wants to think about solar maximum this year and next. in 5 years it'll be cooler. umm why hasnt anyone cried about global warming when saddam hussien burned the oil fields back in 1991? / 1992?

Liqui-Fire
Liqui-Fire

Electrical "Heat Trace Tape" and or "Frost Prevention Heat Tapes" are at the route cause. One individual company boast sales of over 200 million feet in one country alone.  That is enough to circle the earth at the equator.  Imagine how much area it would cover if it were spiraled out from the North Pole spaced with one foot between each circle of the pole.  Nothing freezes beneath these tapes.

Renzo_Lucente
Renzo_Lucente

La natura ci riserva delle meraviglie che noi dovremmo preservare per fare in modo che anche le future generazioni possano godere di queste visioni... 

Knowledge
Knowledge

Changes in solar brightness are too weak to explain recent climate change.

MichaelCollins
MichaelCollins

It is a matter of increasing precipitation in the southern regions where the increased rate has overcome (so far) the melting. We are way past that point in the north.  Only your paid-by-BP scientists fail to see that.

NickKruegal
NickKruegal

You're right. It's a cycle that has happened many times before. Except that it takes thousands upon thousands of years, and not just a few decades like we are seeing now.

So what do you think could cause the ice to melt at speeds that are instantaneous when compared to previous cycles?

Most scientific data points to man-made causes. What do you think the cause is? Angels? An invisible floating magic sky man? Those "liberal commies?" Aliens?

MichaelCollins
MichaelCollins

That is the dumbest bunch of mumbo-jumbo non-science I've heard today.  Have you ever taken a real science class or just dig this knowledge off of Drudge?

Liqui-Fire
Liqui-Fire

These corporations that manufacture "Heat Trace Tape" and or "Frost Prevention Heat Tape" claim no responsibility for any damage to the Polar caps, or vanishing glaciers.

Profits are the only concern for these corporations.  But as the polar caps and glaciers around the world vanish: so inevitably will be their profits.  It may take centuries for the earth to fix man's ignorance and neglect of responsible stewardship of the environment.

It is up to you and me to ask retail store owner why they carry and sell such product as these and make them aware of the damage these products do.

NickKruegal
NickKruegal

They melted in a natural cycle over the course of several thousands, or even tens of thousands of years. It is a cycles that has repeated many times, each cycle taking hundreds of thousands of years.

They did not, however, melt over the course of just a few decades.

Knowledge
Knowledge

@bobm @MichaelCollins 

Orbital shift boosted sunlight that warmed the northern hemisphere between 21,500 and 19,000 years ago, causing some of its icesheet to melt and spill gigatonnes of chilly freshwater into the North Atlantic.

The big gush had a dampening effect on the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation, a well-known 'conveyor belt' of current by which warm water travels northwards on the surface of the Atlantic before cooling and returning southwards at depth.

When the current braked, warm water began to build up in the southern Atlantic, where it swiftly started to warm up Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.

Warming the south in turn shifted the wind and melted sea ice, releasing some of the vast amounts of CO2 that had been absorbed by the ocean and stored in its depths.

CO2 was a big part of bringing the world out of the last Ice Age.

Today humans release 33.5 gigatonnes of CO2 from fossil fuels and cement production worldwide, compared to 6.15 gigatonnes in 1990.

The concentration of carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere has reached 395 ppm (parts per million) as of June 2012 and rose by 2.0 ppm/yr during 2000–2009. This current concentration is substantially higher than the 280 ppm concentration present in pre-industrial times, with the increase largelyattributed to anthropogenic sources.

ars5151
ars5151

@Liqui-Fire Would you like your pipes to freeze in the winter? If not then stfu

Knowledge
Knowledge

@bobm @Knowledge @MichaelCollins  

At the end of the last ice age, CO2 rose from about 180 parts per million (ppm) in the atmosphere to about 260.

In the last 100 years we've gone up about 100 ppm - about the same asat the end of the last ice age, which I think puts it into perspectivebecause it's not a small amount. Rising CO2 at the end of the ice agehad a huge effect on global climate

Liqui-Fire
Liqui-Fire

@ars5151 @Liqui-Fire  

That is a silly uneducated question.

Perhaps you should ask if people want the cold that protects the world from superstorms, or if they are fine with industry such as skiing, snowmobiling,  snow boarding, out door ice skating, ice fishing, winter clothing, cold air defense again parasites insects and other rodents.  Heli-ski and winter resort industry.

Yes, I can put up with a pipe freezing once or twice in my life.  It is well worth the cost to the world and industry for myself not to be so "Me, Me, Me".