The Snow Report
The month of July turned out to be the hottest, and one of the driest, on record for the continental United States. By summer’s end, the belt of ice surrounding the Arctic had melted to its lowest level in recorded history, and crops were in such dire shape that the Department of Agriculture had designated nearly two-thirds of all U.S. counties disaster areas. In mid-July, a few weeks after Aspen Ideas, an iceberg measuring 46 square miles broke away from Greenland’s Petermann Glacier, creating headlines around the world. I called Balog to see if he thought his robots had caught the breakup on film.
He wasn’t sure. Operating in Greenland is absurdly expensive, he explained, and it had cost about $80,000 to get the cameras up there in the first place, much of that provided by a research grant from the University of Wales and Ohio State University that had since dried up. He figured it would cost about that much to go back and see if the cameras were still standing, let alone clicking away. Even so, he sounded as determined and philosophical as ever. “Serendipity got the cameras up there,” he said, “and serendipity will get us back. One way or the other, we’re going to get those images.”