A Century of Photography Reveals the Great Melting of Greenland

Pictures of the Arctic country's ice sheets, then and now, show just how fast glaciers are disappearing.

(Photo: Courtesy Nasa.gov)

Dec 16, 2014· 0 MIN READ
Emily J. Gertz is an associate editor for environment and wildlife at TakePart.

The photographs below were shot almost a century apart and highlight the impact of rising global temperatures on the Greenlandic ice sheet, one of the world’s greatest storehouses of fresh water.

Researcher Anders Bjørk of the Natural History Museum of Denmark used historic aerial photographs of the great island’s glaciers to guide a project to re-photograph the now much-smaller ice sheets.

These photographs were taken near the Sukkertoppen ice cap of southwest Greenland. In the black-and-white image, shot in the summer of 1935, glacier ice covers the rocky sides of a fjord, with many tongues flowing into an ice-covered lagoon. By the summer of 2013, when the color image was made, the ice had retreated nearly two miles.

Bjørk presented these and other images on Dec. 15 at the annual American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.

Scientists are paying considerable attention to the melt rate of Greenland’s glaciers, as they try to forecast how much the sea level will rise in the next century due to human-caused climate change.

(Photos: Courtesy Nasa.org)