While some climate sceptics speak up, we wanted to write about the state of what surround us and make this week dedicated to climate change. Since the Earth Day takes place this saturday, we thought it was the right time to do so. The link between climate change and timelapses may appear unclear yet it is very strong. The timelapse is indeed a technique often used to study glaciers and effects of global warming on it. We will go deeper into details this saturday with an interview with the glaciologist Luc Moreau. Timelapse is also used to keep track and study the movements of glaciers, we’ve made a long time ago an article dealing with it (french language only).

Timelapse of the Solheim Glacier in Islande during 4 years and 6 months taken from the documentary Chasing Ice

Timelapses are increasing environmental awareness

Timelapses helps to raise general awareness concerning climate issues thanks to the strength and self-sufficiency of the pictures. It was, moreover, one of the aims of James Balog, the film director of Chasing Ice when he was commissioned by National Geographics to reports on global warming consequences. His photographs were released in one of the most popular issues of National Geographics (June 2007). His following awarded documentary proved again he achieved his goal.

It’s hard to understand the effect of global warming using just sentences and figures. First of all, the more visible part of global warming effect is the one on glaciers. However it’s difficult, if not impossible, to put it in a simple video since the process may extend over several years ! A timelapse is the most efficient way to show ice melting.  Bringing a process of several years or decades down to a few minutes makes it even more efficient than a before/after picture.

To go further, James Balog spoke at TED about how he was making his timelapses :

What are the consequences ?

One of the consequences of global warming is the ice loss. When melting, icebergs flows to the sea. Combined to temperature increase, it creates thermal expansion and rises water level. In this way, ocean’s level took more than 10cm of high in fifty years. While this may not seem like much, we must not forget that ice is melting each year faster. These 10cm may multiply. It has consequences on flora and fauna and threatens lots of islands and seaside cities. Lots of drinking water supplies relies on glaciers and their losses could easily initiate a water crisis.

A situation not so far away…

We’re used to see pictures of Groenland’s ice or Alaska’s ice melting. Here in Europa, there are lots of people thinking that global warming effects are far from us. Yet, we don’t have to go far away from France to contradict this opinion. Indeed, alpine glaciers underwent global warming effects such as a loss of 1,9 metres alt. each year. If it wasn’t frightening enough, some glaciologists recently claimed that the majority of less than 3 500 meters alt. alpine glaciers will be gone forever before this century ends.