Slow eyes and the Great Defrosting

Seeing is believing, but sometimes just seeing is not enough. A snapshot of a sick glacier with a sad caption doesn’t really compel. The hour hand advances and the water slowly rises, but busy people can be forgiven for shrugging and moving on. James Balog is a photographer, in the seeing business as you might say, and he realized that if he couldn’t make glaciers jump into your lap, no one would ever believe. I saw his TED talk on extreme ice loss and came away impressed.

The Extreme Ice Survey is basically the world’s largest time-lapse photography experiment. Only when you put on the slow eyes of time lapse do you see the glaciers staggering and collapsing like expiring dinosaurs. Here’s a video of a shrinking Icelandic glacier.

Also be sure and watch this Greenland glacier calving a massive iceberg.

It took years for scientists in the 1800s to become convinced that glaciers were actually moving rivers of ice. Let’s hope these videos help people understand more quickly what’s happening now.