Showing posts with label Climate Change. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Climate Change. Show all posts

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Melting Ice in Antarctica "Unstoppable" According to New Climate Report

A new climate report, released earlier this week, paints a dire picture for the ice sheets in west Antarctica. According to climate data collected by NASA, the region located along the Amundsen Sea is warming quicker than expected, as temperatures of ocean currents rise, pushing the effects of global climate change there "past the point of no return."

The new study stitched together data collected by satellite and flyovers by aircraft, to get a comprehensive look at how the Antarctic ice sheets are changing. After analyzing the findings, glaciologist Eric Rignot, co-author of the report, described the melting as "unstoppable" at this point.

While the paper says it will still take several centuries for the melt-off to occur, the ice located in the glaciers in question contain enough water to raise sea levels by as much as 4 feet (1.2 meters). That is enough to have a substantial impact on coastlines across the globe, and the cities that sit along the waters edge. That impact will most likely be felt in this century however, as estimates see a 1-3 foot rise in water levels by the year 2100. That is enough to displace tens of millions of people across the globe.

This particular area of Antarctica is hit harder by climate change than other regions due to the fact that the ice sheets sit on a shelf that actually rests below sea level. As the ocean currents have warmed, the increased temperatures are brought directly to the ice itself, causing them to melt at a substantially higher rate. That rate has increased by as much as 77% since 1973, when the data used in the study was first conducted.

Obviously, I write a lot about Antarctica, and the adventurous endeavors that take place there. It is one of the last great wildernesses on our planet, with vast regions that are still unexplored. These kinds of reports make it clear that the frozen continent is undergoing drastic changes at the moment, just like those that we've seen taking place at the top of the world in the Arctic. The fact that some people still question climate change is baffling to me. The consequences of what are happening to our planet have now moved past the point of whether or not it is man-made, and to the point where it doesn't really matter what is causing it, we need to figure out how to adapt to the changes, and have as little impact on the environment as possible.

I geography professor I had in college routinely use to say, "we're not destroying the planet, we're destroying ourselves." This seems to be the case here. In the greater scheme of things, the Earth will heal itself over time. It may take millions of years, but it will correct any impact that man has had on it. Those millions of years are just a blink of an eye in terms of geologic history, but that is plenty of time to completely wipe out all semblance of man. The Earth will go on without us, especially if we don't start thinking about ways to treat it better, and accept the changes that it is going through. It isn't too late for the planet, I just hope it isn't too late for us.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

All-Female Team To Make First Descents, Investigate Climate Change In Greenland

An all female team of pro skiers will embark on a sailing voyage from Iceland to Greenland in March in  search of first descents and to record the impact of climate change on the region. The team, which will consist of Meghan Kelly, Nat Segal, McKenna Peterson, Pip Hunt and Martha Hunt, will depart on March 26 from Ísafjörður, Iceland on an expedition that is expected to last until April 19. Their adventure will be documented on the Shifting Ice + Changing Tides website.

The ladies, who are working with both the I AM PRO SNOW and Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation organizations, will first travel to the southwest coast of Greenland where they'll climb several peaks and make the first ski descents of those mountains. Along the way, they'll also collect valuable data that will help us to understand how climate change is having impact on that fragile coastline and to Greenland as a whole.

Prior to departing, the team has organized a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo in the hopes of raising some money to help support the project. The expedition will be documented by adventurer photographer Andy Bardon, so that the entire story can be told upon their return.

This looks like a great project for a number of reasons. Obviously we enjoy adventure in all of its forms here at the Adventure Blog, and this looks like it should be a good one. The emphasis on climate change should not be under rated either however, and since this is an all-female team, perhaps it will also encourage more young ladies to get out there and chase their adventurous dreams as well.

The video below helps to explain more.

Shifting Ice & Changing Tides from Andy Bardon on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Video: The Glaciers Of North Cascades National Park

Located in the state of Washington, a few hours drive from Seattle, the North Cascades National Park offers some of the most remote and spectacular wilderness in the lower 48 states. It also happens to be home to more than 700 glaciers, which as we all know are the harbingers of climate change on our planet. The video below was released by the National Park Service and it gives us an idea of how researchers monitor the health of the park's glaciers to determine the impact of climate change on the region. It is actually a fascinating short film with some great scenery to enjoy along the way.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Video: Images From The Polar Realm

Filmmaker Richard Sidey is putting together an interesting documentary about the impact of climate change on the polar regions of our planet. The film is called Speechless: The Polar Realm, and he is busy editing it now. The video below serves as a trailer for that project and offers some stunning images to remind us just how beautiful, and full of life, the polar regions actually are. I'm not sure about the film as a whole yet, but these great shots definitely have me intrigued.

Speechless : The Polar Realm (film trailer) from Richard Sidey on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Coldest Journey Update: Still Stranded As Sun Returns At Last

Remember the Coldest Journey expedition? It was the much vaunted attempt to cross Antarctica on skies in the winter, when the continent becomes one of the most inhospitable environments on the planet. When the expedition got underway this past March, it was with the anticipation that the team of explorers made up of Brits Brian Newham, Ian Prickett, Richmond Dykes, Rob Lambert and Spencer Smirl would traverse the Antarctic by way of the South Pole, covering some 4000 km (2485 miles) along the way. By June, that goal had become a distant memory however, as bad weather, incredibly difficult surface conditions and dangerous crevasses prevented the men from making the steady progress they had hoped. As a result, they put a halt to their journey and elected to set up camp and wait for a plane to come pick them up once spring had arrived. Two months later, they're still waiting for that plane, although they have had their first glimpse of things starting to turn in their favor.

For the past two months the team has essentially been camped in the same spot while they've waited for the winter to pass. During that time they have continued to focus on the scientific aspects of the expedition which consist of taking various weather readings to measure the impact of climate change on the environment in the Antarctic. While they haven't been able to make any progress forward or back, they are still going about the business of collecting data for ongoing research.

There was a glimmer of hope on the horizon this past week however as the sun has shown itself for the first time in weeks. During the Antarctic winter the days get increasingly shorter until the sun dips below the horizon altogether and the continent is shrouded in darkness. But that long night has come to an end at last and the sun has begun appearing above the horizon for the first time in quite awhile. The days may not be all that long just yet, but it is a start. And for this embattled crew, it is also the first sign that spring is approaching. That could mean that there is a light at the end of the tunnel for these five men who have been in Antarctica for a really long time.

We're still probably a couple of months away from any kind of evacuation taking place but the return of the sun is a good sign for these men. After weeks in nearly complete darkness, they'll now have some daylight to help bolster their spirits and mood. I'm sure at the moment they feel a bit like the expedition that the world has forgotten about, but optimism comes with the sun.

Hand in there boys! Spring will be here before you know it.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Microsoft Teams With David Breashears To Bring Everest Home

Even though the Himalaya climbing season is all but over, I have lots of Everest-centric news to share today, starting with a new project that features legendary documentary filmmaker and explorer David Breashears and tech-giant Microsoft joining forces. Today, they have launched Everest: Rivers of Ice, an interactive website that lets armchair mountaineers explore the world's tallest peak without ever leaving home.

The project combines some of the high-resolution imagery that Breashears took as part of his Glacierworks project with the touch-technology behind Windows 8 and Internet Explorer 10, to create an experience unlike any other. Visitors to the site will be able to take a virtual trek up the Khumbu Valley, visiting many well known places along the way like Lukla, Namche Bazaar and Gorak Shep, before arriving in Everest Base Camp itself. Beautiful panoramic shots capture the region nicely, as does a spectacular video fly-by of Everest itself.

The Everest: Rivers of Ice website is created with HTML5, which means it should work on any browser that supports that standard. But to get the true effect in all its glory, you'll definitely want to check it out on Win 8 and with IE 10. Not only will it give you a sense of the scale of the mountain itself, it'll also show you what it is like to trek through the Himalaya just to get there.

I've written about Glacierworks before and feel that it is an important project for raising awareness of the impact of global climate change on the glaciers in the Himalaya. Breashears has taken photos of the Khumbu Valley from today and compared them to images taken the same spot in the past and the differences are alarming. The glaciers are in full retreat, taking a vital source of water for the people of the Himalaya with them. This is becoming a serious issue and projects like this one are helping us to understand the implications. Be sure to check out Everest: Rivers of Ice for more about the changes in the region and to take in the beauty of the mountains yourself.


Wednesday, February 06, 2013

New Antarctic Research Station Opens

Halley VI, a new British Antarctic research station officially opened for business this week, welcoming the first inhabitants for an extended stay. The station, which is located along the Brunt Ice Shelf, just off the Weddell Sea, is designed to monitor the changing conditions and climate in the region. It will be the home for 16 scientists who will reside there throughout the long winter ahead. During the busier summer months, it can house as many as 70.

Built from a set of modular structures that can be easily moved, the Halley VI was designed to be comfortable even in the extreme conditions of the Antarctic. It is rated to withstand temperatures as low as -69ºF/-56ºC and a built-in set of hydraulic legs that can be raised or lowered to help the base withstand heavy snows. Previous research facilities have been crushed under the weight of Antarctic precipitation in the past.

The Halley VI has another trick up its sleeve that can help it survive where its predecessors failed as well. All seven of the interlocked modules can be placed on skis and moved to a different location, which will come in handy when the pack ice that it currently rests on begins to recede further. Considering the Brunt Ice Shelf moves about 700 meters in a given year, and doesn't rest over any kind of permanent ground, the mobility of the station could extend the life of the station greatly.

It has taken four years for the British Antarctic Survey team to complete the construction of the base and for now it will be manned by just a skeleton crew. As the Antarctic winter hits in just a few short weeks, those first inhabitants of the Halley VI will be cut off until the spring. At that time, the station will be resupplied and a full compliment of staff and maintenance crew will arrive on site. Until then, its going to be some very long and lonely days indeed.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Video: Trailer For Chasing Ice

Later this year the producers of the amazing (yet haunting!) The Cove, will release a new film that takes a hard look at climate change and the way our planet is being undeniably altered. Those changes are evident most specifically in the polar ice caps and glaciers of the planet, which are vanishing at an alarming rate. The new film is entitled Chasing Ice and tells the story of National Geographic photographer James Balog, a climate change skeptic who went on assignment to the Arctic in 2005 and  returned with a completely different view. Since then, Balog has made it his mission to chronicle the vanishing ice on our planet and spread the word to others.

The trailer for the new film can be found below and it looks like it is going to be a real eye opener for those who are still on the fence as to whether or not climate change exists and what effect it is having on our world. There are some incredibly powerful images in the trailer itself and I'm looking forward to seeing the full film down the line.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Everest 2012: Photo Exhibit In Base Camp!

A couple of years back I wrote about a project that David Breashears was working on that chronicled the changes in the Himalaya over the past 90+ years. Breashears, who is well known for his famous 1996 IMAX film on Everest, called his project Rivers of Ice and he set out to recreate famous photos taken by George Mallory back in 1921 and compare the health of the Himalayan glaciers both then and now. Those photos are now on display in Everest Base Camp on the South Side of the mountain in what has to be the highest photo exhibit ever put together.

Glacierworks, an organization dedicated to studying the world's changing glaciers, has joined forces with Mountain Hardwear to put Breashear's photos on display in EBC, a place that is built on a glacier that is in full retreat due to the effects of climate change. The exhibit, which opened on Tuesday of this week runs through May 10, is entitled Rivers of Ice: Vanishing Glaciers of the Greater Himalaya. 


When comparing the photographs that were shot by Mallory to those that have been taken today, it is impossible to deny that the glaciers are shrinking at a rapid pace. The black and white images taken in 1921 often show thick glacial ice covering a valley and when Breashears returned to those same locations to take his follow-up images, those same glaciers have shrunk dramatically. The side-by-side comparisons of the photos is startling indeed.

Find out more about Glacierworks and this project by following the organization on Twitter and joining its Facebook page. And if you happen to be in Base Camp, be sure to drop by and checkout the exhibition.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Video: The New Northwest Passage

Back in 2009, explorer Cameron Dueck successfully sailed through the Northwest Passage where he witnessed first hand the impact of global climate change on the Inuit people that live there. The four-month long voyage was an adventure in and of itself as Dueck and his three-person crew contended with massive storms, icy waters and the challenges of navigating through unknown waters. On April 10 a book entitled The New Northwest Passage: A Voyage to the Front Line of Climate Change will be released. That book will chronicle the 15,000km (8100 nautical mile) journey that was both an amazing adventure and a revealing look at the impact of global warming on a group of people who are witnessing its effects first hand. The promo video below gives us a tiny glimpse into what that voyage was all about.


Book Promo -- New Northwest Passage: A Voyage to the Front Line of Climate Change from Cameron Dueck on Vimeo.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mark Wood's North Pole Expedition In Jeopardy

For the past several months we've been following explorer Mark Wood as he attempts to become the first person to ski to the North and South Pole back-to-back. He completed the first stage of that journey in early January when he reached the 90ºS and he has been anxiously preparing for the second stage of the expedition ever since. A few weeks back, Mark announced that he would no longer be skiing to the North Pole but would instead begin at the top of the world and ski southward once again. The reason for that change in direction   was because of the dramatic break-up of the Arctic ice and how that could impact his ability to make progress early on.

Now, it seems Wood has hit another snag in his plans, although this one is more financial in nature. Because of the increased danger for travel in the Arctic, rescue teams are now requiring a substantial deposit ahead of time just in case they need to retrieve explorers from the ice. Conducting rescues above the Arctic Circle is a dangerous, costly affair and in order to ensure that that can happen, Mark now needs a considerable amount of money so that he can proceed with the expedition. Money that he doesn't have, and won't have, unless he can find a corporate sponsor or raise funds elsewhere. To that end, he has released the video below in the hopes that someone will be able to assist his cause.

It should be noted that prior to this, Mark wasn't asking for funds or donations of any kind. While he is making the journey to raise awareness of the impact of global climate change, he has always asked us to pledge to help his cause through the Donation website. On that site, we don't pledge money of any kind, but instead choose to select a number of activities that can help us lower our carbon footprint and help ease the burden on our planet. It is a great approach to this issue and I respect that Wood has chosen to go this route rather than simply passing the hat around the table.

Now it seems that Mark is definitely in need of a white knight to come along and save him. His expedition is a good one and his message is definitely positive as well. Hopefully he'll find a sponsor soon and can begin the second phase of his journey as expected.



Friday, February 10, 2012

North Pole 2012: Change In Direction For Mark Wood

For the past few months we've been following Mark Wood on his North South Solo Expedition as he attempts to make back-to-back trips to the North and South Pole. After 50 days in the Antarctic, Mark achieved the first leg of that journey by reaching the South Pole on January 10th. He has now moved on to Canada, where he's now preparing for the Arctic leg of his adventure, although there has now been a change of plans.

Apparently Mark enjoys traveling south much more than north, as he will no longer be traveling from Cape Discovery to the North Pole, but will instead go in the opposite direction. I received a press release this morning that indicated that this change of course is a direct result of the unstable ice conditions at the top of the world. It has been no secret that global climate change has caused the Arctic ice to become thinner and break-up more often. That has made North Pole expeditions extremely challenging the past few years. Marks plan is to start at the top of the world and head South instead, which makes it a bit easier to deal with those unstable conditions. It also means that he'll probably have the drifting ice work in his favor, which is usually a real challenge to those heading north.

This change in plan means that Mark is now headed home to London for a brief stop over, before proceeding to the North Pole in a month or so. My guess is that he'll get to 90ºN by way of the Barneo Ice Station, which is created on the Russian side of the Arctic each year. He'll then start heading south towards Cape Discovery, in Canada, while reporting back live on his findings of the impact of climate change on the ice there.

Stay tuned for more. We'll continue to follow Mark's grand adventure in the weeks ahead.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Video: Return Of The Sun To Greenland

I caught this video this morning over at the Adventure Journal and thought that it was well worth sharing here as well. Anyone who is still denying that our planet is getting warmer should probably take a look at the short film below, as it really brings home how much things have changed in a fairly short time. The filmmakers traveled to Greenland to film the return of the sun in January, but they also found that the people there have seen a real change to their environment due to global warming. The man narrating the film even says that a decade ago he didn't believe the changes that were being predicted, as the weather was just too cold. Now, those predictions have come to be true, altering his life forever.

It is a beautifully done video that will leave an impression for sure.



Return of the Sun on Nowness.com.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Everest Now Streaming On Webcam

A team of scientists researching the effects of climate change on the Himalaya have installed a solar powered webcam on Kala Patthar and aimed it at everyone's favorite mountain – Everest. The cam is only in operation from 6AM to 6PM local time (which means as I write this, it is off) but offers of views of the world's tallest mountain during daylight hours.

The researchers have also set up a host of weather recording instruments and hope to use them in conjunction with the camera to monitor how Everest changes over time as a result of our changing climate. Glaciers throughout the region are in retreat and that has had a direct impact on the amount of fresh water that is available for those living in the mountains. As the atmosphere continues to warm up, the mountain people of the Himalaya could be facing a potential crisis that will have a direct impact on their way of life.

Check out the webcam by clicking here and the Everest weather monitors by clicking here. They offer up such info as current temperatures, humidity, wind speed, and more.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Universal Sports Network Declares April Adventure Month!


The Universal Sports television network, which is owned and operated by NBC, has declared April Adventure Month, and has scheduled a whole host of great outdoor oriented programing to celebrate. If you're luck enough to live in a market that gets the channel, you'll have plenty of great television to enjoy over the next few weeks.

Amongst the great shows that you can enjoy throughout the month of April are a series of documentaries from our friend Jon Bowermaster. In fact, the entire collection of Jon's Oceans 8 project, as well as his Terra Antarctica film, will be available for viewing. Oceans 8 chronicles eight amazing sea kayaking expeditions to a number of unique and diverse locations around the globe, while Terra Antarctica returns Bowermaster and his team to Antarctica, a place he knows very well, where they explored the effects of climate change on the Antarctic Peninsula. Each of these films is excellent, and will give you a great perspective on the environments they explore, from one of the best vantage points possible – the seat of sea kayak.

To find out where you can watch Universal Sports in your market, click here and to see a complete schedule of programming click here.

On a personal note, if you haven't seen Jon's films, you really should grab this opportunity to do so. They are extremely well done, inspiring, and informative. I have all of the DVD's, and thoroughly enjoyed the all of them. They'll make you want to buy a kayak of your own!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Himalaya Then and Now

A few days back I posted a story about how recent  photos showed the effects of climate change on Everest and the glaciers that surround it, when compared with similar photos taken by George Mallory back in 1921. The man who took those photos is none other than filmmaker and mountaineer David Breashears, who has directed a number of films on Everest, including the famous IMAX film from back in 1996.

Breashears has been traveling throughout the Himalaya taking photos of other famous mountains and comparing them to older images, and the results have been startling. The glaciers are retreating at a surprising rate, and that is putting a strain on the indigenous people of the region who now have to hike longer distances to find fresh water.

The photos are part of an art exhibition that opened last week in Manhattan. The exhibit is called Rivers of Ice and is being put on by the Asia Society through August 15th. Below is a video of Breashears discussing the project more fully.