Photographer James Balog uses photography to create The Extreme Ice Survey. Using 33 cameras and a crew of 30 people he captures the rapid shrinkage of 16 glaciers across the world.
“In the world of the arctic and alpine environments,where the ice is, [climate change is] real and it’s present.The changes are happening. They’re very visible.They’re photographable. They’re measurable.” (James Balog)
So what are the impacts of melting glaciers?
Rising sea levels.
By examining Earth’s Climate Rhythm, there is a clear correlation with increased CO2 emissions, higher temperatures and rising sea levels. The rising sea levels are a result of quickly receding glaciers across the planet. Rising sea levels means whole land masses will no longer be above sea level including entire countries such as Tuvalu. Additionally, higher sea levels will reduce the amount of sunlight available to coral reef for photosynthesis making it increasingly difficult for them to survive.
Increased global warming rate.
The loss of glaciers will only increase the rate of global warming. Glaciers deflect about 80% of the sun’s heat, while the earth only deflects about 20%. As the glaciers melt, exposing the earth below more heat is absorbed which in turn contributes to increased global warming.
Fresh water shortage.
70% of the Earth’s fresh water is stored in glaciers. Many communities living near by glaciers depend on them for fresh water through lakes and rivers.
“When the rate of melting is faster than the accumulation of snow, the glaciers lose mass and no longer produce a steady flow of water” (David Shukman, BBC News)
With rising populations, water fresh water shortages will continue to impact cities like Le Paz, Bolivia who are dependent on glaciers for a steady water flow.
These are just a few issues that are a result of melting glaciers but all have tremendous impacts on society and the environment if they continue without intervention.