'I Never Thought I'd Feel This Way About Ice'
One of the key parts of our shoot was an interview with local Glacier expert, Snævarr Guðmundsson. at Diamond beach and Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. This place was a real wake up call. I never really expected to feel emotional about ice, but standing right up in front of a thousand-year-old glacial chunk that was washed up on the beach, I had a strange sense of empathy. Snævarr explained how the huge glacial lagoon had not been there until recent decades and how we are now losing one shipping container worth of ice every second from this spot alone.
Looking out at all the floating icebergs, there was a huge sense of guilt and irony. Firstly, that we had travelled by car and plane to get there to film this for our documentary in the first place and secondly the demise of this glacier has created such a spectacle in itself, that it is unwittingly attracting tourists from all over the globe to come and pose in front of it.
The fresh water from the glacier feeds out into the ocean and will no doubt have some effect on the marine life and currents there. In fact the most important global current, the Great Ocean Conveyor Belt, controls oxygen dispersal, nutrient flow and plays a huge role on our weather patterns. In the last decade, scientists have found that Iceland has its own jet stream, a two-mile-wide current running deep below the seas surface that could be the largest supply of cold water for this feedback loop. This is just another illustration of how important our cryosphere and the glaciers are to the rest of the planet.
After absorbing our interview, we were able to take a quick look at the Crystal Ice Caves nearby. The ice here is very old. So many layers of glacier have built up above them that the pressure has squeezed out the air bubbles and left the ice crystal clear. Standing inside and looking up, it feels as if you are stood in an air bubble beneath a vast turquoise ocean. I couldn’t help feeling a wave of sadness to hear that these features would soon be melted away with the summer sun. Although glaciers naturally recede and grow over time, this one is changing so rapidly it can only be attributed to human based climate change.