Eyes on the ice: Stunning images from documentary show how the Arctic  landscape is changing over time

By Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED:23:12 EST, 18  November 2012|

A photographer has used his passion for the Arctic to chronicle the regions’s changing landscape in a new documentary as well as a series of stunning photographs.

Chronicler of nature James Balog has been capturing the grandeur of glaciers and ice floes since 2007.

He started the Extreme Ice Survey the same year, which is considered the most wide-ranging photographic study of glaciers.

Spectacular: These stunning images show the dramatic landscape of the Arctic's glaciers

Mission: The pictures were taken by photographer James Balog and his colleagues at the Extreme Ice Survey

Change: Balog says he has seen the ice retreat from many areas of the Arctic once covered in glaciers

Balog says he has seen the ice retreat from many areas of the Arctic once covered in glaciers

Now he has released a film, Chasing Ice, which captures the disappearance of the world’s glaciers which many scientists blame on global warming.

The film was released in large U.S. cities this weekend with a national roll-out later in November

Filming: The creators went to extraordinary length to put the movie together

Balog came to the idea of illustrating the changing ice floes with time-lapse montages while shooting single images of glaciers for magazines like National Geographic.

“It was pretty evident to me that single frame could only take you a very little distance into telling the story of that ice. I started to get the idea that I would be coming back and repeating some of these camera positions in years to come,” Balog said.

“And yet after I got done editing the film for the story… realised maybe time-lapse would be better than just revisiting these sites over and over again.”

The composite images, which are made up of still photographs taken every hour or so over the course of months, show how much glaciers have shrunk.

Stunning: Balog's artistic and scientific skills have propelled his film to massive critical acclaim so farThen: The Solheim glacier in Iceland pictured at its full extent in a 2006 photograph

Then: The Solheim glacier in Iceland pictured at its  full extent in a 2006 photograph

Now: By 2009, much of the glacier had disappeared thanks to the effects of climate change

Now: By 2009, much of the glacier had disappeared thanks  to the effects of climate change

Balog and his crew were equally floored by the images they had captured.

‘We were really stunned especially right in  the beginning, but now, six years into this, we’re still stunned when we see  these pictures and see how the landscape has changed. It’s bringing to life  something that is otherwise invisible, otherwise really unimaginable,’ he said.

Chasing Ice won the audience award for best documentary at the 2012 SXSW festival, and the documentary cinematography award at the Sundance festival in January.

Although climate change was rarely mentioned in the recent U.S. presidential election campaign, the devastation wrought by Superstorm Sandy in the U.S. Northeast has placed the environment back in the headlines.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2235046/Documentary-Chasing-Ice-shows-Arctic-landscape-changing-time.html#ixzz2DWoU8nJP

Polar Ice Sheets Melt Faster

Shrinkage in Greenland, Antarctica Has Sent Ocean Levels Higher, Study Says

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Higher temperatures over the past two decades have caused the polar ice sheets to melt at an accelerating rate, contributing to an almost half-inch rise in global sea levels, according to the most comprehensive study done so far.

Scientists long have struggled to get a fix on whether the permanent ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica are gaining or losing ice. Past satellite-based measurements either were limited in scope or suffered from methodological inconsistencies.

The new study, published Thursday in the journal Science, estimates that the melting of the ice sheets as a whole has raised global sea levels by 11.1 millimeters (0.43 inch) since 1992. That represents one-fifth of the total sea-level increase recorded in that period.


Ian Joughin/University of Washington

The midnight sun casts a glow on an iceberg in Disko Bay, Greenland.

In the 1990s, melting of the polar ice sheets was responsible for about 10% of the global sea-level rise, but now it represents about 30%, the data suggest.

Higher temperatures can raise sea levels in several ways. Some estimates suggest that roughly half of the increase relates to the thermal expansion of the oceans: as the water warms, it becomes less dense and expands.

Another source is the runoff from melting glaciers. A third is the increased melting of the ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland.

Greenland in particular has seen a greater melting of its permanent ice. One reason is that Northern Hemisphere ocean currents are warmer, which leads to more vigorous melting.

In addition, the air temperature in Greenland is much warmer than that in the Antarctic, so a rise in temperature in Greenland has a more profound effect.


“If you extrapolate these results, Greenland is going to be a serious contributor to global sea-level rise” in coming years, said Peter Wadhams, a professor of ocean physics at the University of Cambridge, England, who wasn’t involved in the Science study. “Its contribution, relative to other sources, is becoming greater and greater,” he said.