Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Antarctic Ice Sheets – the fuse has been lit.

snowmobile and sledge cross blue ice on Balchen Glacier, Marie Byrd Land. Photo © Bruce Luyendyk
Snowmobile party crossing blue ice of Balchen Glacier, 
Marie Byrd Land, West Antarctica. Photo © Bruce Luyendyk

Have the Antarctic Ice Sheets reached the Point of No Return? My last entry was an excerpt from my memoir about flying past the Point of No Return (AKA Point of Safe Return) in route from Christchurch to McMurdo Station, Antarctica. This entry is about an entirely different PNR, that where the stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) is lost.

Two research studies published in the last few weeks have confirmed what has been feared; the PNR for stability of the ice sheet has been passed.

The WAIS covers the subcontinent of West Antarctica in thousands of feet of ice.
About the area of Mexico, if the WAIS melted entirely sea level would rise an average three meters around the world (ten feet).

Monday, May 5, 2014

Big Dead Place - The Man Who Loved Antarctica

Reprinted here is my Amazon review of this book…

Big Dead Place: Inside the Strange and Menacing World of Antarctica
by Nicholas Johnson

Photo of Birchall Peaks taken from Maigetter Peak, Ford Ranges, Marie Byrd Land. Photo © Bruce Luyendyk
Snowmobiles in the Birchall Peaks, Marie Byrd Land, Antarctica.
Photo © Bruce Luyendyk 

Although Big Dead Place was published over nine years ago it has remained in the spotlight.

HBO planned a miniseries based on the book. The actor James Gandolfini pushed the project as a producer and was expected to star in it. Peter Gould of Breaking Bad was to do the screenplay. Gandolfini died in June 2013. Ironically, Johnson committed suicide in late 2012. Whether the project goes forward or not remains to be seen. Nevertheless, the book remains a first in memoirs of Antarctic experiences in its unflinching, no-holds-barred exposé of what it means to work in Antarctica as an underling to the institutional mission - which is to stake a virtual claim of Antarctica for the U.S.