Have an ice Earth Day!

Laying awake at 4 AM in a New York City hotel thinking on tomorrow’s Earth Day, and its theme: sea level rise. We’re installing a 4 ton ice sculpture at Union Square. Its characters #DARKSNOW sprawl 40 feet. It’s height is the sea level rise reasonable to expect this century, 5 feet (1.5 m). It’s to be sprinkled with soot symbolizing the effects of increasing wildfire and industrial pollution.

The sculpture was produced at cost by Stan (The Ice Man) from upstate New York. He is one of now dozens of people spending their free time to contribute to this Earth Day something of memory, something to inspire, and this is a fundraiser for a Greenland expedition I’m organizing for this June.

We aim to sample Greenland’s ice in key areas to measure how much of the record 2012 melt is attributable to wildfire soot absorbing more sunlight, multiplying the effect of warming.

I had worked the previous years publishing an article, live June 2012, just prior to this “surprising” melt. Well, the 100% surface melting wasn’t that surprising because as the paper predicted warmth had only to remain at the 2010 or 2011 level… “Thus, it is reasonable to expect 100% melt area over the ice sheet within another similar decade of warming”

June 2012 was already emblazoned in my memory, the fires of my home state were at record level. I had been focused on the effects of heat driving melt.  But now, the soot factor had to be incorporated into the calculation, adding another layer of precision and complexity.

An intermediate step was to examine atmospheric laser scans from NASA’s CALIPSO satellite. That search quickly revealed smoke clouds drifting over and apparently in contact with the ice sheet surface.

The ice sculpture work is by Stan the Ice Man. That's me Jason Box in the lower right advertising the stickers that supports get with a $25 donation at http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/dark-snow-project/ and at the Earth Day event. The ancient Greenlandic-inspired glacier glasses are going to donors at the NY event who give at the $400 level. The glasses are also available at http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/dark-snow-project/ but are discounted for the Earth Day event.

The ice sculpture is a metaphor for the connection between human agency, ice and climate, linked with sea level rise, fire and ice.  The sculpture is instead of another chart or table of data or thousand page scientific assessment.

The underlying message is the need to work toward harmony between humans and the environment upon which we depend.

To make the Greenland expedition happen, to move the science forward together, we’re asking you in the US to “Txt DARKSNOW to 50555 to pledge $10. Supporters will get a response asking to share that they have pitched in, to their social network. With just another few clicks, the fund raising can have some virality.

Or consider giving through our web site.

Incidentally, I had to go back and make corrections…The voice recognition I increasingly use in lieu of typing translates Earth Day as “birthday”. And why not celebrate the Earth’s birthday?

Have an ice Earth Day!