Piqaluyak
2019

Everywhere on Earth ice is changing. The famed snows of Kilimanjaro have melted more than 80 percent since 1912. Glaciers in the Garhwal Himalaya in India are retreating so rapidly that researchers believe that most central and eastern Himalayan glaciers could disappear by 2035. Arctic sea ice has thinned significantly over the past half century, and its extent has declined by 10 percent in the past 30 years. NASA's repeated laser altimeter readings show the edges of Greenland's ice sheet shrinking. Spring freshwater ice breakup in the Northern Hemisphere now occurs nine days earlier than it did 150 years ago, and autumn freeze-up ten days later. Thawing permafrost has caused the ground to subside more than 15 feet (4.6 meters) in parts of Alaska. From the Arctic to Peru, from Switzerland to the equatorial glaciers of Man Jaya in Indonesia, massive ice fields, monstrous glaciers, and sea ice are disappearing, fast.

When temperatures rise and ice melts, more water flows to the seas from glaciers and ice caps, and ocean water warms and expands in volume. This combination of effects has played the major role in raising average global sea level between 10 and 20 centimetres (four to eight inches) in the past hundred years, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Scientists point out that sea levels have risen and fallen substantially over Earth's 4.6-billion-year history. But the recent rate of global sea level rise has departed from the average rate of the past two to three thousand years and is rising more rapidly—about one-tenth of an inch a year. A continuation or acceleration of that trend has the potential to cause striking changes in the world's coastlines.

This series, composed of digital animation displayed from a set of LED screens as well as projections, focuses on the reshaping of global ice sheets and glacial absence through the repetition of a loopback film. With each passing second, subtle and incremental changes appear on-screen whereby the viewer is taken on a two-dimensional journey via an aerial perspective.

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As a side note: The Inupiat language has words that describe many kinds of ice. ‘Piqaluyak’ is salt-free multiyear sea ice (or large chunk of freshwater ice from river that is good for drinking water); multi-year sea ice that has become fresh due to multi-year thawing and desalination. ‘Ivuniq’ is a pressure ridge. ‘Sarri’ is the word for pack ice, ‘tuvaqtaq’ is bottom-fast ice, and shore-fast ice is ‘tuvaq’.