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How We Learned about Greenland Melting
Jason Box and Peter Sinclair
The accelerating melting of Greenland's ice is a very important process to
understand, and this pair of explanations is an excellent start. Glaciologist
Jason Box explains in a column from the Huffington Post, and film-maker Peter
Sinclair illustrates with a video from the Dark Snow Project and Yale Climate
(7 minutes, August 2015)
Elegy for the Arctic
A haunting piano piece played afloat among chunks of ice and in sight and
sound of calving glaciers. Organized by Greenpeace.
(3 minutes, June 2015)
"Chasing Ice" Captures Largest Glacier Calving Ever Filmed
What does it look and sound like when a truly enormous chunk of glacier breaks
off? Watch and listen in this short "official video" clip from "Chasing Ice,"
the powerful film that tells the story of photographer James Balog's ongoing
ice-melt documentation project.
Hunting for Methane
Katey Walter Anthony, University of Alaska Fairbanks
A startling short video of methane bubbles becoming pillars of
flame-illustrating how permafrost thaws, trees fall into lakes, and methane
forms underwater, then escapes into the air, where it works as a potent
(2 minutes, January 2010)
Operation Ice: Melting the Heart of Man
Drew Denny, Great Big Story
This lovely short film links scientists tracking the melting Greenland ice sheet with the insights of a Greenland Inuit activist/elder and with rising sea levels and higher coastal floods.
(22 minutes, 2018)
Art and Science: Time Lapse Proof of Extreme Ice Loss
Excellent short Ted Talk by photographer James Balog, who speaks here of the importance of combining science with art, and who shows and comments on some
of his jaw-dropping time-lapse footage of retreating glaciers in several parts
of the world, with vivid illustrations of the scale of these changes.
(20 minutes, 2009)
Climate Change and the Literary Imagination: Creative Nonfiction *
Marybeth Holleman, Anchorage, Alaska
What do writers and artists do when they tackle the topic of climate change?
In this talk and reading, writer Holleman addresses this question by focusing
on what's happening to polar bears as the Far North warms: the facts, yes, but
also the way their stories make us feel and challenge the ways we make sense
of our world.
(25 minutes, November 2008)
||articles & essays
As the Arctic Melts, Nations Race to Own What's Left Behind
Francis Flisiuk, The Revelator, January 2018
This article does a good job covering many of the issues arising as ice
continues to melt in the Arctic, opening that ocean to complicated
geopolitical maneuvering and putting both social and biological systems at
risk. Who owns the Arctic? Who decides, and how? What difference does it
make‒to the larger world, and to the people who live in these high
latitudes? Such issues will only become more pressing.
Arctic Report Card
NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), December 2017
Most of this authoritative annual U.S. scientific report on the state of the
Arctic is aimed at specialists, though much of it is reasonably readable
nevertheless, and the graphics are very informative. The Headlines, Executive
Summary, and short video are good sources for the rest of us.
Six Experts to Watch on Arctic Sea Ice
Eline Gordts and Hannah Hoag, Arctic Deeply, July 2016
If you are interested in what's happening with Arctic sea ice (and thus many
other physical, biological, and cultural changes in the Arctic), here are
short sketches with links of six scientists who focus on this subject.
Abrupt Sea Level Rise Looms as Increasingly Realistic Threat
Nicola Jones, Environment 360, May 2016
Despite the title, this good piece is largely about what is happening to the
ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica and about what we do and don't yet
understand about the processes of melting there.
Scientists are Watching in Horror as Ice Collapses
Douglas Fox, National Geographic, April 2016
A vivid story about what happens when ice shelves collapse in Antarctica.
On Thin Ice: Big Northern Lakes Are Being Rapidly Transformed
Cheryl Katz, Yale Environment 360, November 2015
With key examples including Lakes Baikal, Superior, and Tahoe, this piece
looks at what is happening to large, cold-water lakes around the northern
hemisphere as the climate warms.
The Secrets in Greenland's Ice Sheets
Jon Gertner, New York Times Magazine, November 2015
A compelling and crystal-clear story about what scientists know, think they
might know, and are trying hard to figure out about the timing and pace of
future melting of Earth's giant ice sheets‒and the sea-level rise that
Dark Snow: From the Arctic to the Himalayas, the Phenomenon that is Accelerating Glacier Melting
John Vidal, The Observer, July 2014
"Dust from bare soil, soot from fires and ultra-fine particles of 'black
carbon' from industry and diesel engines" are being blown onto snow all over
the world. The darker surfaces melt more quickly, setting up the vicious cycle
of melting, darkening, warming, melting, and on and on. Good story with links
to primary research and leading researchers.
Northern Mystery: Why Are Birds of the Arctic in Decline?
Ed Struzik, Environment 360, January 2014
Thick-billed murres, gyrfalcons, peregrine falcons, will and rock ptarmigans,
long-tailed jaegers, Ross's and ivory gulls, and other birds are in decline,
for a variety of reasons, some of them connected to climate change. Along the
west coast of Hudson Bay, for instance, heavy rains have drowned peregrine
chicks and caused them to die of hypothermia.
Antarctica and the Arctic: A Polar Primer for the New Great Game
Douglas Fox, Christian Science Monitor, January 2014
A very interesting and thorough story about some of the changes occurring and
expected in the far north and south as more ice melts‒not ecological changes,
in this case, but matters of business, economics, and politics, mostly linked
to resource extraction.
Pan Inuit Trails Project
Created from 18th and 19th century maps and records and traditional Inuit
knowledge, this interactive database recording human presence in the Northwest Passage is primarily historical but also to a significant degree current. One
aim of the project is to "help people visualize how many people are being
affected by climate change" in this part of the world. For a good story about
the project, by Henry Gass of ClimateWire (june 2014),
Arctic Sea Ice News & Analysis
National Snow & Ice Data Center
Frequently updated images, data, and explanations of Arctic sea ice
conditions. Includes "Icelights: Your Burning Questions about Ice and
Extreme Ice Survey
In his Extreme Ice Survey, photographer James Balog is creating a stunning
array of still, time-lapse, and video images of glaciers around the world.
Enacting the motto "Seeing is Believing," Balog and his team invite visitors
to the project's excellent website to see for themselves both what is
happening to glaciers today and what kinds of beauty they give to our world.
This work brings together the powers of art and of science to illuminate our
situation and urge action.
Cape Farewell Project
Led by artist David Buckland, this London-based project sponsors
creative cultural responses to climate change, taking visual artists,
writers, and young people on expeditions to the arctic and creating art
exhibitions and performances. In their words: "Using creativity to innovate,
we engage artists for their ability to evolve and amplify a creative language,
communicating on a human scale the urgency of the global climate challenge."
Their website offers expedition blogs, images, and more.