Must-see video: Time-lapse proof of extreme ice loss

Just about everywhere you look ice is melting — see USGS report details “recent dramatic shrinkage” in U.S. glaciers, matching global decline.

Here is a very impressive presentation from a 2009 TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conference:  “Photographer James Balog shares new image sequences from the Extreme Ice Survey, a network of time-lapse cameras recording glaciers receding at an alarming rate, some of the most vivid evidence yet of climate change.”

Video beats even the best photographs, I think (see “Must see: Photographing Climate Change“).  Either way, the visual evidence is stunning, and may be the best response to efforts by deniers to push the nonsense of global cooling.

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17 Responses to Must-see video: Time-lapse proof of extreme ice loss

  1. pete best says:

    deniers would say its a natural cycle, or just normal annual behaviour etc. However many people who do not care might now think differently.

  2. Leland Palmer says:

    The message may finally be getting through.

    Yet, the cable news media continue to portray the situation as “business as usual”,refuse to cover the global warming study in any honest way and load their output with positive semantic and conceptual frames about the future.

    This reaches a few people, the output of the cable news outlets reach millions.

    Will Obama’s speech before the UN also be quickly dismissed as one of a range of views, ascribed to a bad motive or to his being a bad person, masked by celebrity coverage or simply not covered?

    If past behavior is any guide, it will.

    You might even think that such media outlets are owned by corporations, who favor the status quo, and favor continued fossil fuel usage.

  3. Spaceman Spiff says:

    Dramatic stuff, no doubt.

    However, I had to cringe at the beginning of the piece when he said that he “didn’t believe in” global warming initially because all he then knew of were the climate model predictions. And that he only believed it when he realized that decades and centuries of data, including paleoclimate data, existed. As if one day climate scientists suddenly woke up and decided to amass data. This misperception of the scientific process is perhaps one of the most damaging. Over short time scales it’s a messy (noisy) process, but over time new understanding emerges as data are amassed.

  4. Not Enough Data says:

    So if we put cameras in places where glaciers were growing that would be proof of something else?

    Interesting pictures but it doesn’t prove anything. Two years of pictures is nothing in geologic time or even in the 200 years since the industrial revolution.

    Crap like this means nothing and proves nothing no matter how sciencey he tries to make it appear. Show me 100 years worth of pictures and then you might have something.

  5. JoeB says:

    Not user friendly, Joe. Need 30 seconds of quick slide sequences to convince the unconverted.

  6. Leif says:

    To “Not Enough Data”. The data is out there for all to see. The limits of the Arctic ice has been well documented by numerous sources. The 20,000 year old mammoths are defrosting as we speak. Polar bears are starving from inability to reach pack ice to feed and dyeing from exposure when winter dens melt too soon. Bird hatches are becoming out of sink with insect hatches. Look again at the hight of the grounding lines in the photographs. The list goes on. You dismiss the evidence at your.

  7. Leif says:

    “Peril” did not get on the end of my post.

  8. Wolfgang says:

    Rather impressive, especially when you consider that the glacial ice that’s disappearing is many thousands of years old. Something the deniers should consider when claiming that the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) was as warm or warmer then world temperatures are today.

  9. Andy Gunther says:

    To not enough data: I doubt you’ve spent much time reviewing data to have the opinion that you do, and the tone of your comment suggests your really aren’t interested. In case you are, there are many photo documented cases of glacial retreat around the world (here’s one from Muir glacier: Or take a look at some of the 29,000 data sets Cynthia Rosenzweig and her colleagues analyzed ( Then, come up with a hypothesis that explains these datasets, that hasn’t already been considered and refuted using the scientific method.

    Data since the industrial revolution is VERY meaningful, because the changes demonstrated in these datasets are test predictions made using radiative physics (the pattern of temperatures we see on the planet today was predicted decades ago). This is not crap, it is science in action.

  10. paulm says:

    SOLAR MINIMUM VS. GLOBAL WARMING: From 2002 to 2008, decreasing solar irradiance has countered much anthropogenic warming of Earth’s surface

    Two researchers, Judith Lean (NRL) and David Rind (NASA/GISS) looked at four drivers of climate change and showed graphs of how much each has contributed to the changing temperature of the earth’s surface since 1980.

    The four drivers………

    1. Volcanic aerosols- cooling influence
    2. El Nino- warming influence
    3. Greenhouse gases- warming influence
    4. Solar cycle- variable influence.

    You can check out the graphs right here, courtesy of The article is about halfway down the page.

  11. Rick says:

    Pretty dramatic especially at the end when he goes into the old “it’s not too late” bit

    Sorry – but I’m not buying that. How would anyone know if it’s too late? – and to be so sure about it? Lets be realistic. Mankind is not about fix the climate or slow down any ice flows. No we can’t. It’s craziness.

    If ice flows slow down – it wasn’t us that did it.

  12. t_p_hamilton says:

    Not enough data said:”So if we put cameras in places where glaciers were growing that would be proof of something else?”

    It would be proof that they were not selected as representative of what is happening.

    Here is all the data you need to know for glaciers, compiled by world glacier monitoring service:

    Only 1 out of 29 reference glaciers had a positive mass balance in 2005/2006 and 5 out of 30 for 2006/2007.

  13. David B. Benson says:

    Rick (12) — Between one and two per cent of GWP would be sufficient to remove all the excess carbon humans add to the active carbon cycle each and every year. At 2% there would be enough extra to begin removing the approximately 500 GtC humans have already added.

    So a 2% VAT on every transaction that makes up the GWP would raise the needed funds.

  14. john says:

    I believe film, photo, and literature, for that matter, can make a strong statement — but I doubt this will have much effect on folks.

    For one thing, it’s short term; for another it looks at ice at different times of the year — an yes, I know it was still possible to see that climate was having an effect — but it does introduce noise that makes it hard for the average person to get.

    I thought Gore’s series — viewed over decades at the same season was much more persuasive.

  15. mauri pelto says:

    The real videos are even better to watch they are posted at vimeo.
    etc. Balog has done a good job working with some skilled glaciologists in setting these up, and they have scientific value too. Having worked on the first glacier, its dynamic nature that makes them so interesting to work on is obvious. These videos are compelling because of the close time frame. Taking a picture annually of the same glacier as I have done the last 26 years just does not have the same punch.

  16. Skeptic Engineer says:

    And Boulder University finally admitted (after an uproar from the rest of the world) that they vastly under-reported the Ice Melt by over 600,000 Km SQ. They admit the model they use for yeatrs is faulty and don’t feel like changing it.
    Meanwhile, the US Air Force with much more accurate (and never used by global warming proponents) methods have completely differnt results.
    Guess that if the report determins life-or-death results of landing on huge, thick ice packs instead of politically correct open ocean results, there would be a big difference?

    The solar cycle usually does increase the earth’s temp.
    And then the solar cycle swing goes to cooling.
    As predicted in the 1990’s, the cooling also reduces the evaporation and causes less snow / rainfall.
    One factor of Glacier growth depends on rain (snow) fall.

    New wildlife numbers show that polar bears, after a decline, are increased in numbers. Let’s all just forget that animal populations for a single species can vary; and take a snapshot in time.

    The projected droughts associated with the solar cycle are on track.
    Studies in Europe that look at the market price (and shipping) of grain for Europe match the solar cycle.

    Everyone (except those on the government’s payroll) understands the fact that the vast majority of Earth’s heat comes from the sun.

    The Therm readings (used by industry for hundreds of US Cities to predict the useage of utility natural gas and other predictions) registered the coldest summer since the readings began.

    No single short-term event means anything. It all needs to be put into a scientific context. Scientific: something that seems to evade government funded science out to prove the political agenda.

    Government funded Economic Science announced boldly that “the recession is ending”. Opps! That would never be politically motivated either.

    Science needs to lead, not mis-lead.

    By David Fogarty, Climate Change Correspondent, Asia

    SINGAPORE, Aug 28 (Reuters) – Small changes in the energy output of the sun can have a major impact on global weather patterns, such as the intensity of the Indian monsoon, that could be predicted years in advance, a team of scientists said.