The Big Melt
March 7, 2015 2:48 PM   Subscribe

Comparing photographs of glaciers from the 1920's to today: Repeat photography is a technique in which a historical photograph and a modern photograph, both having the same field of view, are compared and contrasted to quantitatively and qualitatively determine their similarities and differences. The following sections depict how this technique was used at a number of locations in Alaska... to document and understand changes to glaciers and landscapes as a result of changing climate.

The Repeat Photography Project (USGC)

Photographs above by Dr. Bruce Molnia.

The trailer to Chasing Ice., now on Netflix. (Previously on M-F).

From.

An idiotic counterpoint.
posted by growabrain (12 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
Idiotic is too polite.
posted by sety at 3:49 PM on March 7, 2015


Seeing the pictures from the past, while overlooking scenes in Glacier National Park, is fucking heartbreaking.
posted by notsnot at 3:54 PM on March 7, 2015


The Repeat Photography Project is fascinating, and the images themselves are compelling.

The Earth Observatory does it with satellite images, and has developed an image comparison tool that permits you to move a line back and forth across the screen, transforming one image to the other for an extremely detailed grasp of the differences.

If you live on the west coast of the US and want to really freak yourself out about the drought, use image comparison to check out the changes from January 18, 2013 to January 18, 2014 in their January 23, 2014 post All Dry on the Western Front.
posted by jamjam at 3:57 PM on March 7, 2015


The Earth Observatory does it with satellite images, and has developed an image comparison tool that permits you to move a line back and forth across the screen, transforming one image to the other for an extremely detailed grasp of the differences.

I looked all over the site and could not find this feature. I definitely want to check this out. Where is it hiding?

If you live on the west coast of the US and want to really freak yourself out about the drought, use image comparison to check out the changes from January 18, 2013 to January 18, 2014 in their January 23, 2014 post All Dry on the Western Front.

Yes, this is one of the reasons I was irritated by the NYTimes sat photos from this recent FPP. It says

These composite satellite images compare the snow cover in February of 2013, 2014 and 2015. This year, much of the Northeast, including the New York metropolitan area and New England, received more than a foot of extra snow than in an average February.

But this is a map of snow cover across the ground, it's not snow pack up in the mountains, like your All Dry on the Western Front shows, it's just snow on the ground that will melt away in a few more days. I'm not sure you can really draw any climatological conclusions just from the total area covered by snow. But people will look at that and say the usual stupid things, like "it can't be global warming if we had more snow in February than ever." No, it's not just global warming, it is global climate change, with more extremes of both cold and hot.
posted by charlie don't surf at 4:35 PM on March 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


"The ship can't be sinking — my end is way up in the air!"
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 5:34 PM on March 7, 2015 [12 favorites]


There's also a large repeat photography effort in Canada, focused on the Rockies: The Mountain Legacy Project. The "comparison view" button in the lower right part of each photo's page provides one of those "sliders" to scroll from past to present, e.g.
posted by Rumple at 5:49 PM on March 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Apparently these glaciers are just mindlessly buying into the global warming hysteria.
posted by haricotvert at 6:55 PM on March 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


My Dad did a similar thing with Comox glacier for fun. When he first went to Comox he found a beautiful place to photograph the glacier from the harbour. We'd return every year or two and he'd get a photo from the same place. Over about 10 years the glacier had visibly shrunk something like 25% -I used the pictures in a project when I was in grade 8. I'm now in university, I should take the same picture next time I'm out there and compare.
posted by Canageek at 7:16 PM on March 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Where is it hiding?

I think it's mainly in the Image of the Day feature, where you have a button to click that switches between View Image Comparison and View Both Images. Examples:
* Retreat of the Columbia Glacier
* The Aral Sea Loses Its Eastern Lobe
* Lake Mead Still Shrinking
posted by dhartung at 1:16 AM on March 8, 2015 [1 favorite]




I can't re-recommend the film Chasing Ice hard enough: It is surely the scariest movie I've ever seen
posted by growabrain at 10:39 AM on March 8, 2015


Florida DEP employees were not allowed to use terms like global warming or climate change by Gov Rick Scott

Rick Scott is venal.
posted by notreally at 4:39 PM on March 8, 2015


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