Extreme Ice Survey and Chasing Ice

Extreme Ice Survey was created in 2007 by photographer and climate activist James Balog with the goal of showing the clear changes to earth’s glaciers through a series of photographs. It’s one of the largest (if not the largest) projects of its type and the program has collected more than 1 million photographs across 24 glaciers in Antarctica, Greenland, Iceland, Canada, Austria, Alaska and the United States.

The results are alarming and it shows a clear change in glacier size and movement as a result of climate change.

The Extreme Ice Survey took their results and data to produce the film Chasing Ice where they share the amazing work it took to collect these photos while showing the world just how rapidly these massive glaciers are changing. You can see the trailer here:

Not only does the film show you the immense scale of the change but it’s interesting to see just how difficult it was to photograph and film these changes. Balog and his team risk their lives in entirely unforgiving terrain.

As you can imagine, it’s not easy adding high-tech cameras to remote locations in the far north but it’s not always so easy in the southern hemisphere either and you can see the Extreme Ice Survey team adding additional cameras to South Georgia Island here:

Time Lapse Footage Of Melting Glaciers

While the film Chasing Ice presents the data elegantly, there is something to be said about the simple time-lapse footage that the Extreme Ice Survey team was able to collect as well. In the video below, you’ll see Alaska’s Mendenhall Glacier literally melting before your eyes:

No narration and no production because sadly there’s none needed- the changes speak for themselves.

Of course, the Mendenhall Glacier is just one of many and you can see the same thing happening to the Sólheimajökull Glacier in Iceland:


When Does Change Occur?

Despite these obvious changes over less than a decade, climate change is still an extremely political issue.

So what does it take to show that this is happening?

I wish I knew the answer but I am grateful for the work being done by Extreme Ice Survey and others like them. Balog and his team are producing amazing books, films, and exhibitions to help this turn from a political one to an obvious emergency.