Christian Long

James Balog: Time-lapse Proof of Extreme Ice Loss

In TED Talks on May 23, 2010 at 12:22 am

Reflection by MUHUMMED B.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

James Balog:  Time-lapse Proof of Extreme Ice Loss

James Balog, who is a Nature Photographer, talks about his home made time-lapse camera and how they gave proof that the glaciers were receding at an extreme rate. He used the time-lapse cameras and his photography skills to show how the glaciers, from different regions of the world that is, were receding due to climate change. Balog perched time-lapse cameras into a position, so that they would correspond to the glacier. He assigned two or three time-lapse cameras to a glacier, so that they could capture the glaciers loosing ice from various angles. Balog was worried about the time-lapse cameras, wondering if they would still work in the high altitudes, under various unknown weather conditions.

The time-lapse cameras were placed in several countries and they’re also solar powered. Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Iceland, and Switzerland are among the few countries where James Balog placed his time-lapse cameras. To capture the melting of the glaciers in action the cameras are set to take a photo every fifteen minutes. Balog and his team left the cameras in there designated spots for a year or more, and then revisited them to see the results. When they return to see what the time-lapse cameras captured, the team was astonished by what they discovered. At about 8 minutes into the video, Balog shows the audience what the time-lapse cameras captured over a period of a few months to a year or more while in the glaciers.

A camera that was placed in Alaska, from May 2007 to August 2007, captured a glacier that was simply floating and the cavern face was falling apart. The cavern face of the glacier is the part of the glacier that is visible, and it was 300 feet tall or 32 stories tall, and the rest of the glacier that’s not visible is 1000 feet deep under the ocean water. In a video taped of a melting glacier it films a glacier that has retreated 1 mile back and 3 miles in width. The video was filmed in 75 minutes.

In June 2006, Balog took an aerial photograph in Alaska of an glacier and he returned in May 2009 to take another aerial photograph of the same glacier and discovered that it had receded 1.9 miles. In the photograph below are photos taken from a time-lapse camera which illustrate the severity at which the climate is changing. From June 2006 to June 2008, the photograph shows a massive difference at which the ice melted. Just looking at it, you think its maybe about as big as a football field, but its actually as long as 295 double decker buses. This photograph is ABSOLUTE PROOF that the rate at which the glaciers are melting is very rapid.


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