Morning Joe | November 15, 2012
>>> 11 miles. the glacier's retreating, but it's also shinning at the same time. it's like air being let out of a balloon. you can see what's called the trim line. it's the high-water mark of the glacier in 1984 . that vertical change is the height of the empire state building .
>>> that was a clip from the sundance award-winning documentary called "chasing ice." joining us, james baylog. aless joining us, jefflossky, the film's documentary. it's amazing to me, so many people in this country, the united states of america , know more about the moon than they do about the arctic and the effects of nature and weather in the arctic and on in.
>> it's an interesting analogy. and you're right, actually, the arctic is not that far away from us. you know, if you fly up the east coast to the united states , you're in greenland in 4 1/2 hours, so it's close up there. you know, the ice ages are up there, 4 1/2 hours away by air. and, yeah, there's a lot of ice and there's a lot of change going on right now.
>> the pictures are dramatic as we look at them now. give us a science, a few years ago, i traveled to the northwest passage . it thawed out entirely. and you could traverse that area. how dramatic is the shift takes place right now? we hear this in terms of hyperbole, but in real terms how dramatic is the shift takes place there?
>> in real terms , we're in the midst of monumental change in the northern latitudes. the arctic sea ice is retreating ever close to disappearing by the end of the summer . and we have tremendous inflation of the mountain glaciers, as well as this big ice happening right now.
>> we saw the cameras five years ago, kind of having a guess as to what would happen. but the amount of change on the glaciers has been remarkable.
>> how many cameras, how many were you filming, the degree of difficulty?
>> yeah. we started in 2007 , right now, 34 time-mark cameras, greenland, alaska, glacier national park . they've maintained a five-year long record. there's a photograph taking every half hour of daylight right now, collecting all this evidence.
>> how did they survive the weather that long?
>> that's one of the tough parts. we're dealing with temperatures, minus 30, minus 40, for months at a time. really high winds . often, these cameras are getting pounded by 100-mile-an-hour plus winds. it was a project to try to engineer this stuff to keep it to work. i think of it as my r2d2s out there working.
>> he to build the custom supply and cameras. because nothing existed.
>> so if some moron comes up like me and asks you, why? what's the answer? why are you doing this?
>> why are we doing this? everybody keeps asking us why does it matter if the ice is melting, the glacier's melting. we saw that, because of the climate range, because of glaciers melt, because of rising sea levels , we're going to see more events like sandy. we're trying to show individuals this isn't a far away concept. it's hard to imagine change. it's literally how carbon dsrbon dioxide is changing in the area, we're trying to see that.
>> james , you mentioned when you came in, speak to that again, the size, the scale of the ice. it's just enormous.
>> yeah, it's mind-boggling, really, when you hang around those landscapes. you feel this tremendous are weights of these moving land masses. it's not like anything else we know down in this part of the world. the closest thing to that feeling is probably when you're by a huge river like the mississippi or the colorado, and you feel all that water moving along . this is orders of magnitude more substantial than those big rivers feel. and you know, to be clear, some of these glaciers are retreating in part because of local glacier dynamics, like the columbia glacier shot we started with.
>> but also they're retreating because of climate change .
>> the documentary "chasing ice" playing now in select cities. james , jeff, thanks very much.
>> thank you.
>> it's at lincoln center this weekend. it's a beautiful theater.
>> lincoln center , get there.
>>> looking ahead to tomorrow, the senate intelligence committee , senator saxby chambliss is going to be here.
>>> and the documentary the dust bowl " which is another a