Imaggeo on Mondays: Arctic iceberg

The text of this week’s Imaggeo on Mondays comes from the photographer himself, Phillip Blaen (University of Birmingham), who took the picture while on fieldwork for his PhD studies. Phillip researches the impacts of climate change on the hydrology and ecology of Artic rivers.

“Arctic iceberg” by Phillip Blaen, distributed by the European Geosciences Union under a Creative Commons licence

Last year, I was working in a small research village called Ny Alesund, which is on the shore of Kongsfjord in north-west Spitsbergen (the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago). Some of my field sites were accessed by boat. I had spent all summer in Svalbard and this was my last boat trip to collect equipment from a site on the other side of the fjord. It was a wet and miserable day. I didn’t expect to get any good photos, but I put my camera in my bag just in case. Then I saw this iceberg floating in the water. The colour of it really contrasted with the darkness of the surrounding landscape – it was almost shining!

Icebergs calve from glaciers throughout the summer in Svalbard. On a warm day the sound of the falling ice hitting the water fills the air like thunder. But many glaciers in Svalbard are now shrinking and the rate of thinning has increased in recent years. This iceberg came from the Kongsbreen glacier at the head of Kongsfjord. The glacier has retreated by several hundred meters in the last half-century. A few decades ago, the location where this photo was taken would have been covered by ice.

By Phillip Blaen

Imaggeo is the EGU’s online open access geosciences image repository. All geoscientists (and others) can submit their images to this repository and since it is open access, these photos can be used by scientists for their presentations or publications as well as by the press and public for educational purposes and otherwise. If you submit your images to Imaggeo, you retain full rights of use, since they are licensed and distributed by the EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

Bárbara Ferreira was the Media and Communications Manager of the European Geosciences Union from 2011 to 2019. Bárbara has also worked as a science writer specialising in astrophysics and space sciences, producing articles for the European Space Agency and others on a freelance basis. She has a PhD in astrophysics from the University of Cambridge.

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