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James Balog's Extreme Ice Survey

Photgraphs of the Northern Hemishpere's retreating glaciers.

Nature photographer James Balog, whose photograph appears on this week's cover, has been traveling to the most remote parts of the globe to track the disintegration of the world’s glacial ice. He is the founder of Extreme Ice Survey (EIS), a group dedicated to documenting the rapid retreat of glaciers across the Northern hemisphere. The group, started in 2006 and comprised of journalists, artists, and scientists, uses time-lapse and conventional photography to demonstrate the effects of global warming. Why battle arctic weather, landslides, and long treks over forbidding terrain to photograph melting glaciers? "Because vanishing glaciers are the most visually dramatic signs of climate change," Balog says, "an event of epochal geologic significance happening in our own time, and EIS will preserve a photographic echo of these landscapes long after they've disappeared."

"Showing epochal change happening in the context of our lives," he adds, "alters fundamental human perceptions of time and our relationship to nature."

So far, EIS has placed 26 time-lapse cameras at 15 locations that will collect over 300,000 images by 2009. Balog hopes to use this photography to challenge the public perception of human impact on the environment, demonstrating that massive ecological shifts are possible within our lifetimes. As the EIS slogan says, “Seeing is believing.”

You can see a slideshow of images from Extreme Ice Survey here.

By Cara Parks