Icebergs play a vital role in global climate stability. In the last 20 years, icebergs have melted at unprecedented rates, changing marine dynamics, the balance of sea levels, and weather patterns.
Since 2003, photographer Camille Seaman has documented the fragile environment of the polar regions. Seaman grew up with a Native American father of the Shinnecock tribe and an African American mother on Long Island. As a child, Seaman's grandfather taught her traditional Native American ways to see and observe the natural world, which has influenced her vision as a nature photographer. In this photo essay, Seaman captures icebergs from Antarctica and the Arctic, including regions of Svalbard, Greenland, and Iceland.
Icebergs are chunks of freshwater ice that have broken off of glaciers and float in the ocean. They are considered icebergs at 16 feet in total length and can weigh up to 100,000 to 200,000 tons. As little as one-eighth of an iceberg is visible above the water and scientists estimate that the lifespan of an iceberg—from the first snowfall on a glacier to the final melting—can be as long as 3,000 years.*
Scientists study icebergs to discover information about the climate and ocean processes. According to National Geographic, there are more than five million cubic miles of ice on Earth and if we continue adding carbon to the atmosphere, the average temperature could rise to 80 degrees Fahrenheit instead of the current 58 degrees. Scientists anticipate that increased ice melt will affect oceanic flow cycles, which would accelerate the impacts of climate change.
Connections to National Standards
Common Core English Language Arts. SL.9-10.5 and SL.11-12.5. Make use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understandings of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.
Next Generation Science Standards. HS-ESS2-2. Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth's surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.
College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies. D2.Geo.2.9-12. Use maps, satellite images, photographs, and other representations to explain relationships between locations of places and regions and their political, cultural, and economic dynamics.