Thousands of quite picturesque blue lakes have been appearing on the Langhovde Glacier, in East Antarctica, since the turn of the century. In short, they are meltwater ponds that form as warm air comes into contact with the glacier’s surface. While they may be easy on the eye, they evidence the presence of global warming.
Such ponds have been observed in Greenland for sometime, where ice sheets are now melting at an alarming rate. Unfortunately, it looks like that process is going to start increasing in parts of Antarctica.
If you don’t have the Vimeo Staff Pick page bookmarked, you ought to, it’s where I see many of the Vimeos I feature here.
You especially ought to bookmark Antarctica, that was filmed with the aid of a quadcopter, a drone like device used for aerial photography, by Stockholm-based filmmaker Kalle Ljung, since, if you’re not able to travel there, this may be the one of the last chances to see the frozen continent in its pristine beauty, before the ravages of climate change take their toll.
Last year a box of photographic negatives, that were almost one hundred years old, was found in a room at Robert Falcon Scott’s expedition base at Cape Evans, Antarctica.
Rather than Scott’s team though, the images depict members of Ernest Shackleton’s Ross Sea Party, who were tasked with laying supply depots across the Great Ice Barrier, ahead of the Irish born polar explorer’s 1914 to 1917 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition.
Thought to have been taken by Arnold Spencer-Smith, who served as the advance group’s photographer, the photos have now been intricately restored, and can be viewed at the Antarctic Heritage Trust website.
What’s almost as intriguing as the journey itself though is the fact that people following the latter day team’s progress across the Antarctic ice are able to read and comment on their exploits, even though they may be up to half a world away, surely something Scott and his contemporaries could never have envisaged.
While some especially adventurous travellers may see Antarctica as a so-called extreme tourism destination, it is certainly no place for the faint of heart:
While I’m personally not prone to anxious thinking, conditions here breed morbid fantasies: ominous fog banks, white-capped waves, freezing, face-shredding winds capable of knocking you off your feet with no warning. In weather like that, your access to medical treatment is limited and beyond your control—and when something like a broken leg could be deadly, thoughts of injury (and improvised surgeries inside a storm-tossed boat) are never far from your mind.
NASA’s IceBridge Mission has been using a number of technologies to create a map of Antarctica’s bedrock, a process that if nothing else, gives those of us not so up on matters geology an idea what the landmass looks like without its ice and snow cover.
Stanford University PhD student Cassandra Brooks recently spent two months sailing through Antarctica’s Ross Sea aboard an ice-breaker. Rarely a dull moment by the looks of it, including even the occasions the vessel was temporarily trapped by the sea ice.