The year is 2018, and some people still believe that the earth is flat, the moon landing was faked and climate change is a hoax.
Of course you can believe just one of those mentioned above, but I would hazard a guess that one often leads to the other.
TIME decided to focus on the impact climate change is having in Antarctica, which is a damning indication of how we can somehow still stuff a place that we can’t even lay our hands on:
Climate change has become our species’ great destructive equalizer [sic], leaving no part of the planet safe from the harm we do. In March 2017, the sea ice around both poles reached a record low for that time of year. In July, a 1 trillion–ton iceberg, roughly the size of Delaware, calved off of the Larsen C ice shelf in western Antarctica. The damage to the ice is being done not just from above, as the planet’s air warms, but from below, as its oceans do too…
Established in 2009, IceBridge is an annual series of flights over both polar regions, surveying the state of the ice with a suite of instruments including laser altimeters, radars, magnetometers and gravimeters.
Spoiler alert – we’ve made a right bloody mess of things.
Some of the more jarring images below:
From left: fast-moving ice becomes heavily fractured; the color of ice reveals its age—snow cover makes old floes lighter.
From left: A view from the plane above the clouds in November; a calved iceberg.
A crevasse measuring a few thousand feet from an altitude of 1,500 ft., during a November flyover.
From left: a calved iceberg flows through frozen seawater known as pancake ice; a 100-ft.-tall iceberg in open sea.
This massive chunk of free-floating sea ice is about 100 ft. thick from waterline to top—or roughly the height of a 10-story building.
A sense of scale is important, because I would not have pegged that ice as being 10 storeys high.
We’ll finish with this:
It is perhaps apt that NASA is studying Antarctica the same way it often studies distant worlds—from above, with a flying collection of multisensory instruments. And it is perhaps apt too that so many of the pictures could pass for ones of the barren moon; of broken Mars; of the great, cracked ice-cover of Jupiter’s moon Europa.
Our living world fared a great deal better than those poor dead ones. The pictures [photojournalist Paolo] Pellegrin brought home may serve as a reminder to care for the Earth in a way that better protects our profound good fortune.
Call me a pessimist but I highly doubt it.
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