Capturing the Glacial Pace

Time-lapse photography documents glacial retreat

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Via the thought-provoking TED conference comes this video about an ambitious project called the Extreme Ice Survey, which documents climate change in powerful imagery. Lifelong nature photographer James Balog and his team captured the retreat of numerous glaciers through time-lapse photography. The results are astonishing.

The glaciated landscapes portrayed in Balog’s photography are often without any recognizable frame of reference. One has the sense that they are witnessing something dramatic, but it is Balog’s insightful commentary that provides the perspective required to appreciate the tremendous scale of the glacial recessions depicted.

A series of still photographs, viewable at the Extreme Ice Survey’s website, are equally breathtaking. Balog’s work is another powerful visual indication that climate change is real and altering the earth—quite rapidly—in demonstrable ways.

Here’s a video of Alaska’s Columbia Glacier:

AK-01 Columbia Kadin from Extreme Ice Survey on Vimeo.

Sam Edmondson was a campaign manager on air toxics issues from 2010 until 2012. He helped organize the first 50 States United for Healthy Air event. His desire to work at an environmental organization came from the belief that if we don't do something to change our unsustainable ways, we are in big trouble.