Exploring Arctic Melt

Extreme Ice: Nova was filmed over a period of two-years; the opening scenes provide just a glimpse of the footage to come. This video examines the changes we are seeing in our Polar Regions and the effects of glacial melt.

I’ve been very curious about global warming and trying over the past several years to reconcile scientific studies, which point to global warming and just as many that don’t.

The footage shown in Extreme Ice: Nova, is simply incredible, well worth the time it took me to watch the film half a dozen times. Someone with HD TV would really find this video incredible.

Aside from the incredible cinematography, much of the film is a mixture of fact, fiction and wishful thinking. Yes, the polar regions are melting but this is nothing new. As a native of Michigan, in school we were taught that the entire state of Michigan and much of the surrounding areas were once total engulfed in glaciers. It’s a fact that our glaciers have been melting for thousands of years. No big surprise.

What really astounded me about this video was that at one point in the program they touched on the National Ice Core Lab, in Lakewood, Colorado, showing the 8,000 square foot storage facility of core samples that have been gathered from 34 sites around the world.

I was shocked at how many ice cores that have been drilled, acres and acres of samples are being stored in the ice core lab.

Photographer James Balog was faced with some exciting challenges during the filming, at one point the ice was so porous, they explained that the holes in the ice, were allowing more water to seep into the ice, creating pockets that were accelerating the pace in which the ice was melting.

Then they proceeded to drill into the ice, in order to fix their ropes to descend several thousand feet into an ice cavern. The footage was incredible, something most of us would never in our lifetime have an opportunity to see, let alone experience.

What bothers me about this is that scientist know that drilling holes in the ice, increases the speed of the ice melt, which they attribute to global warming trends but after viewing the huge storage center, I am curious to know just how much our scientific community has contributed to the problem of glacier calving and glacial melt.

Judging from just the sheer volume of samples that have been taking, I would have to guess that scientists are at least partially to blame for the situation we find ourselves in.

So, watch the video, see it for yourself. Ask your students to try to identify fact from fiction. Talk about the issues and explore the cause and effect.