Wake up world, climate change is real - GulfToday

Wake up world, climate change is real


Photo has been used for illustrative purpose.

Sometimes you read an article about some project, and it really grabs your attention and brings about a total change in your perspective about how you view the world. The Extreme Ice Survey is one such project, and the documentary, Chasing the Ice, based on this project, is recommended as a must-read and a must-see for anyone who has a stake in Planet earth.

James Balog, a celebrated environmental photographer, went to the Arctic on an assignment for the National Geographic to capture evidence about the climate change. He was a sceptic about climate change until that first trip to Iceland in the spring of 2005.

When he returned six months later, he found that the glacier had shrunk hundreds of feet in length, and had deflated by two-thirds. First, he felt that he must be in the wrong place. It converted him from being a cynic into a believer that climate change was real, it was happening – and fast.

This led Balog to launch an expedition to the arctic titled the Extreme Ice Survey Project for which he led a team of young, spirited youngsters across the brutish arctic temperatures, where they deployed revolutionary time lapse cameras to capture a multi-year record of the world’s changing glacier.

The Extreme Ice Project involved the setting up of 25 cameras to record hourly changes over 36 months in some of the world’s largest glaciers such as Iceland, Greenland, Alaska, and Montana.

The Extreme Ice Survey had the fantastic ringside view of observing the world’s largest calving event on the Greenland’s ice sheets, especially the Llulissat glacier, when across one hour, they saw an area the size of Manhattan retreat away, throwing up chunks of ice 600 feet into the air.

This spectacle converted James Balog from a die-hard sceptic into a believer in climate change. He had earlier been cynical about how humans could alter the physics and chemistry of the planet.

Now, he has become a lone crusader to collect solid and clinching evidence to jolt humanity with a wake-up call. For example, consider this data about the ice cores, which reveal past temperatures.

The Extreme Ice Project ( EIS) has revealed that it is 40 per cent higher than in the Industrial revolution period.

Tad Pfeffer, a glaciologist featured in the film, Chasing the Ice, which was based on the EIS Project, affirms that we are almost crossing the “tipping point” in the near future. Using time-lapse imagery, Dr Pfeffer has proven that glacial calving is going to be a recurrent feature and the glaciers are not in a place away from Planet Earth, but very much connected. So, with the continued energy consumption levels and our existing way of life, there is no turning back. Glaciers contain huge mass of the earth’s freshwater resources, and it is stored in the Antarctic and Greenland ice

sheets. When these melt, then the sea levels rise. Just imagine, NASA studies have indicated that if all that frozen water was released into the oceans, then the sea-levels would risen by 195 feet or 60 metres.

The EIS project has now provided a baseline by which future climate change studies can be evaluated.

This led me to mull over what is the impact of this survey in the field of climate change studies. Climate Change is no more then a case of insufficient data or the line that the jury is still out due to lack of evidence. That lie has been nailed.

The Extreme Ice Study is the world’s most clinching accurate photographic evidence that conveys that climate change is not some future event – it is happening, and in the here and the now.

Climate change is real. Wake up, world.

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