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Special Feature: Extreme Ice

glacierBreathtakingly vast, Greenland’s ancient ice sheet turns out to be as fragile as it is formidable. Huge chunks – one twice the size of Manhattan – splintered with thunderous cracks from its giant glaciers this summer. NASA scientists also were stunned to see the sheet’s whole 660,235 square-mile surface briefly turn into slush.

Environmental photographer James Balog has spent the past five years documenting the impact of Earth’s big thaw on 16 glaciers in Greenland, Iceland, Nepal, Alaska, and the U.S. Rocky Mountains. His stunning new book, Ice: Portraits of Vanishing Glaciers, culls glittering images of frozen landscapes transformed by wind, erosion, and meltwater from among the scores of photos snapped every half-hour by 34 time-lapse cameras monitoring the glaciers for Balog’s Extreme Ice Survey. Each freezes a fleeting moment in our changing climate.

For more images, check out the National Snow and Ice Center at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Watch the trailer for James Balog’s documentary, Chasing Ice:


This feature, written by Mary Lord, appeared in the December 2012 issue of ASEE’s Prism magazine.

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