I had the pleasure and thrill of traveling above the Arctic Circle to the area known as the Northwest Passage. Working for the research organization InMER, I was tasked with documenting evidence of climate change through interviews with Inuit indian tribal elders and government officials, in addition to capturing images of the flora and fauna.
Flying from one location to another, we came across a vast field of sea ice - the very stuff that provides a floating base for animals like polar bears, penguins, and even seals. My first impression was that the ice was solid and impenetrable. But soon I could see that it was like a vast expanse of shattered glass.
At that very same moment, we learned that the summer ice levels had reached their lowest in recorded history. This made for a very sobering moment. Here I was, looking down on clear cut evidence of climate change, on a landscape as fragile as any you could imagine. With the loss of more and more sea ice, the opening of the Northwest Passage to commercial shipping traffic becomes an increasing reality. That spells serious environmental concerns for the region, not to mention what it says about the worldwide impact of climate change.
Here is a video that I put together for InMER that has been included in the new ocean layer of Google Earth (courtesy of InMER.org). Check it out and check out the new Google Earth!
Some of the footage I shot for InMER was also used in a segment of National Geographic Wild Chronicles series on PBS. The more that people learn about what is happening to our climate, hopefully the more we can do to improve the situation.