• September 27, 2013

James Balog on Disappearing Glaciers

“Ice is the canary in the global coal mine.” —James Balog

2009 Jökulsárlón, Iceland
2009 Jökulsárlón, Iceland. Destined to melt, an 800-pound chunk of ice glows in moonlight, from the October 2013 National Geographic story “Meltdown.”

Scientist, explorer, artist, and photographer James Balog is drawn to issues of climate change and its effects on mankind. Balog is pushed by a sense of urgency and obligation to document the changing planet. For him, there is no better way to bear witness to the climate change that is happening right now than through a photograph. The Extreme Ice Survey started as an assignment for National Geographic and grew into an ongoing project to document the changing glaciers. His work on glaciers and climate change has since become a documentary, Chasing Ice, and a book. Balog has received the Leica Medal of Excellence and premier awards for nature and science photography at World Press Photo. —Caitlin Kleibeor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

This video portrait was produced by National Geographic magazine in partnership with the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. It is part of an ongoing series of conversations with the photographers of the magazine, exploring the power of photography and why this life of imagemaking suits them so well. Learn more about the making of the series and watch the full trailer here.

Follow James Balog on his website.

Video Production Credits
Photographer: James Balog
Producers: Pamela Chen, NGM
Chad A. Stevens, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Associate Producer: Elyse Lipman, NGM
Editors: Kathryn Carlson, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Mika Chance, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Camera and Sound: Spencer Millsap, NGM, Shannon Sanders, NGM

There are 42 Comments. Add Yours.

  1. Sherab Wangmo
    November 22, 2013

    The video about the disappearing of glacier is really fantastic job with whole lot of efforts you and your team has put upon for few years. I loved watching it and the risk you take was inspiration one! Great!

  2. george-b
    October 28, 2013

    As always, while still in politico-cultural denial, we’re still after the “who did it Question?” rather then moving to What’s to do about it?”.
    If I were to assign an age to the human race, it would be in preadolescence, developmentalwise….How many more millions of years does the human race think it has to reach adulthood?

  3. eduardo moreno
    October 27, 2013

    por desgracia asi es primero ese bloque de hielo no es de agua salada es de agua dulce… el agua salada no se congela por la concentracion de sales minerales que seri aprox. de 35, o 50 gramos por litro de agua, o mas dependiendo, el luger donde se tomen las muestras y eso se lo debemos o lo es ta ocacionando la sobre explotacion del petroleo o combustible fosil que ahora en alaska

  4. mohammed shakeeb ahmed
    October 23, 2013

    the clear case of misbelieves and improper use of fuel. we cant control on global waming untill we cant control on ourself.

    October 14, 2013


  6. Nigel
    October 13, 2013

    As a species the Human Race is self important with the majority not thinking or caring about the future, we are all looking to acquire the next piece of tech or keep up with our favorite celebrities, and global warming makes for a mediocre disaster movie. We’re already on that slippery slope towards extinction so lets just sit back and enjoy the ride, and when we lose the “Human Race” the Earth can fix itself

  7. Tapas
    October 4, 2013

    Global warming is effecting hole atmosphere of the blue planet in such fast pace ,before our political leader,we ,every one of us could realise it’s effect in human & non-human race, it will be to late .We shall come together and take a concrete step NOW or NAVER.

  8. Callie Macha
    October 1, 2013


  9. Fil
    October 1, 2013

    It will take about ten years for greenhouse gases we release today to reach the outer reaches of our atmosphere, doing damage all the way for up to 500 years. And still we do not see the end of exploitation of fossil fuel. We still know of fridges and airconditioners using freon. We do not see any significant advance in electric vehicle production and/or sales. We see no difference making progress in solar, wind, wave, tide or ocean current power generators.
    What we see is ever more political blunder, industrial competition, corporate and personal greed, wars and other regular, inhumane human behavior.
    To people running this World today, glaciers are as important as oversize ice creams. If it was not so, the self-destructing behavior would cease a long time ago, since what we do to our World is not exactly news.

  10. Courtney
    September 30, 2013

    Some people are astounding. “The great thing about science is it is true whether you believe it or not.” Neil Degrasse Tyson.

  11. Miss Lou
    September 29, 2013

    Andrea: The video compilation begins with photos taken in July 2008 and shows changes through August 2012. Confirmation of decline in ice is available. There are hundreds of pictures, videos, studies and documented first hand accounts by people who live and work in these areas. The proof is there.

  12. cesar
    September 29, 2013

    Gobal warming is putting us all at risk. Whether earth cycles or human caused or what I think is to blame a combination of both, we must find ways to deal with what’s coming. No to us but the next generations. It is our duty to do something now to ensure the well being of our kids, grand kids etc… Global warming; call it conspiracy theory or exageration, but deny it is compleately unacceptable.

  13. Phillip H George
    September 29, 2013

    WOW, Bravo Well Done!
    I wish Every Human Being on this planet could watch this video ones in their lifetime. Thank You!

  14. jeff
    September 29, 2013

    You and i didn’t make the world so with that being said god have other ideas what he likes to do with earth we had our chance to clean it up

    September 29, 2013

    Lindissimo parece um diamante

  16. Dina
    September 29, 2013

    Compelling image. James Balog presents a passionate and knowledgeable opinion. I respect this perspective and proof his team have presented us. A fool mocking the imagery can probably not grasp the dedication needed to bring such pictures (proof) to the public.

  17. Tom Bombadil
    September 29, 2013

    Beautiful and worthwhile work…keep it up.

  18. Chelsea
    September 29, 2013
  19. Christine Allard
    September 29, 2013

    Wonderful story; I’m wondering if James Balog is the son of a couple I knew in Boise, ID around 1977; I knew them as “Jim & T” – lived next door to them in a little pink house.

  20. Metadeio
    September 29, 2013

    It proves nothing other than man lit the fossil fuels to warm the Earth as she is coming out of her last major ice age of approximately 25,000 years ago and, then, the little ice age during the Middle Ages that forced us to further expand ourselves over the globe. Mother Earth knows how to regulate and mitigate the actions of her inhabitants via the intelligence that creates and launches trillions of other worlds! Relax…appreciate that the Universal Intelligence knows exactly what it’s doing…and we are part of its ever expanding creation to see the beauty and have appreciation in being on this planet we call home…It is in that perception that leads us into ever evolving Beings as we come and go on this safe and lovely environment hurling through this astounding creation.

  21. tennisfansince76
    September 29, 2013

    “the urgency to document the changing planet” as opposed to when the planet wasn’t changing? what tomfoolery

  22. solveig
    September 29, 2013

    What, much water is good…. and what about flooded cities and drowned islands… with its inhabitants???????

  23. buto
    September 29, 2013

    Srsly, Andrea, why dont you expand your feeble mind and look at the big picture? Better yet, go to school, talk to real world scientists and researchers and…oh, wait…you cant coz of your feeble mind…smh…

  24. Robert Francisco
    September 29, 2013

    For those who are still denying the effects of human activities which accelerates global warming (also called anthropogenic or enhanced global warming), do you believe mining and burning fossil fuel is part of earth’s natural process? Are there other species aside from humans who mines and burns fossil fuel?

    I’m just pissed with people who are using politics and taxation to deny AGW but can’t understand the basic science behind it.

  25. Tim
    September 29, 2013

    Its a sad day for science when we start referencing David Rose articles as evidence against global warming. I like this explanation of possible dips in air temperature during “warming periods” and ensure we continue researching and acting to try and protect our environment. http://skepticalscience.com/global-cooling-intermediate.htm

  26. Zulus
    September 29, 2013


  27. caricia
    September 29, 2013

    global warming is a fact…to say that it is a lie, is, well, like being subjective…especially when the truth is felt through the changes on earth. Thumbs up for Mr.Balog!

  28. talat özçelik
    September 29, 2013

    Great,I see there is some stone? İt’s mean bad:((

  29. Mark
    September 29, 2013

    Andrea, do you even know what a glacier is???? This is so sad and the deniers keep denying.

  30. Mahwish
    September 29, 2013

    It seems like a world within these glaciers.

  31. Anna
    September 29, 2013

    I don’t think the video here explains or does justice to the work that James balog and his team have been doing. The experiment, took over 3 years and is still going on. The film about it ‘chasing ice’ is available to watch on Netflix ATM and is excellent, inspiring viewing. Only 4 out of something like 500 ice bergs have increased in size in recent years.. The rest have either completely disappeared or have reduced. (Info via Ted talks) Dig deeper people.. Find out for yourselves and then Do Something x

  32. Melanie
    September 29, 2013

    Absolutely loved your documentary “Chasing Ice”! What a brilliant concept to showcase the ever growing problem of climate change then through your breathtaking photographs. They are both eerily and naturally beautiful. Definitely a strong case of pictures speaking louder then words. One can no longer deny that our changing world is impacting planet earth. Yes there are many great things revolutionizing our world but at what cost?!

  33. robert
    September 29, 2013

    the earth was tropical for millions of years meant for different forms of life. mamals have had the earth for such a small time in the life of the earth why not beleave the ice is a bandaid and the earth will one day return to the way it was for so long maybe until another asteroid hits it again

  34. jose roca
    September 29, 2013

    is totally amazing what can make a lens is definitely a great invention

  35. Soldier
    September 29, 2013

    Knowing this why is it that theres non law to protect such law n still theres poeple that continue with thier behavior n destroying our planet, what ever we r doing let us stop n do something that can at lease partially fix the damage done if possible or stop completly what ever we r doing,understanding that the big company n even including the oil companys r the one to blame but nobody does nothing cause these laws protect them n not the enviroment HELLO!!!!!!!!

  36. Brahm
    September 29, 2013

    Great Job !!

  37. Andrea
    September 29, 2013

    So you pick a glacier, create a timelapse video which begins in winter and ends in summer, and then start screaming about global warming?
    Lies shouldn’t be the most effective way of warning people about something

  38. Ubaldo Fajardo
    September 29, 2013

    No kidding..! more water for us!! now we just need to built a machine that process the salad water into sweet water..!! and we all going to survive.. then after the last breath of the earth 😉

  39. Danat
    September 29, 2013

    Whit to much talk.

  40. Gökçe Kavak
    September 27, 2013

    Unfortunately it’s a result of global warming that has been related to people’s general mistakes… It’s been thought for an environmentalist.

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