Chasing Ice is a film documenting the rapidly melting glaciers due to global warming. In 2005 James Balog a renowned photographer, was sent to Arctic to take pictures, which would show the effects of climate change. National Geographic called it The Big Thaw in its June 2007 cover story. While shooting this cover story in the Arctic regions Balog was astounded by the rapid change in glaciers and the melting ice. What James Balog witnessed so moved him that he decided to record the disappearing of giant glaciers a thousand times bigger than the size of Manhattan through the time-lapse cameras. According to him seeing is believing.
In a multi-year effort Balog’s newly founded organization Extreme Ice Survey (EIS) installed time-lapse cameras at 34 locations, in Iceland, Greenland and North America. Each camera taking 8,000 snapshots of the ice or the face of a glacier per year. EIS staff then edited these thousands of snapshots into stunning videos that reveal how fast polar ice is melting and glaciers are disappearing. For example glaciers and mountain snows are melting so rapidly in Montana’s Glacier National Park that now it has only 27 glaciers, versus 150 in 1910. Chasing Ice documents EIS’s difficult task of capturing these pictures in remote and hostile regions of the world and the story these pictures tell us.
National Ice Core Laboratory in Colorado is run by US National Science Council. It holds the ice cores measuring 36 meters long, from 34 sites around the globe. These Ice cores can be read like tree rings, and also contain tiny air bubbles which indicate the levels of CO2 and the temperature of the earth at that time. The above graph covers a time period of about 400,000 years. This graph shows that every spike in levels of CO2 (white line) in the atmosphere was accompanied by a corresponding rise in the world temperature (red line), which also resulted a rise in sea levels (blue shaded area) due to the melts of polar ice. The last rapid rise in global temperature was 125,000 years ago resulting in a 4 degrees centigrade increase in the earth temperature. At that time CO2 levels in the atmosphere were 280 parts per million, today the CO2 levels have reached 390 parts per million and rising. It is not surprising that the earth temprature has increased 0.8 degree celsius since 1880, and we are seeing glaciers and polar ice melting away at such fast pace.
Gallup Poll conducted a survey of individuals in 128 countries, and found that 2/3 of the world’s population consisting of 4.6 billion people are either completely unaware of global warming or they are confused about it. There is an immense need to educate people and thus bring about a change in the policies and attitude of their governments. The scientific facts are indisputable, it is incumbent on the world community to heed the clarion call to safeguard the future of the earth and our children.