anthropoScene IV : Adrift (∆Asea-ice)

anthropoScene IV : Adrift (∆Asea-ice)

A video triptych that visualises the contribution that we make to a rapidly warming planet by flying

Upernavik | Started on 19/10/2019

Citizens of developed countries are increasingly aware of correlations between our lifestyles and the climate crisis: witness the phenomenon of flygskam or “flying shame”. Borrowing a groundbreaking scientific formula* the filmmaker-artist calculates and saws off the exact amount of Arctic sea-ice (15.69m²) that will be destroyed by his carbon emissions flying economy return, from Sydney to Greenland, to film it (5.23 tonnes of CO₂e). Adrift (∆Asea-ice) visualises and mythologises the consequences of a Western way of life. It touches upon disconnects — of cause from effect; of emissions here and now from melting there and then — that underly our psychological responses to global warming. Disconnects that have perhaps kept the problem comfortably abstract for us — until now…

Notz & Stroeve’s equation — ΔAseaice = dFnonSW,in / dECO₂ x ΔECO₂ — states that the total area of sea-ice lost equals a constant — derived from research into energy flux at the ice edge — of 3.0 ± 0.3 square metres per metric tonne of carbon dioxide emitted, multiplied by the sum of emissions. Inserting my own 5.23 tonnes of CO₂ equivalent into the equation, this works out at 15.69 ± 1.57 m² of sea-ice that will not regenerate naturally in northwest Greenland come winter. With less sea-ice to reflect sunlight back into space the ocean absorbs more heat, contributing to even faster warming in the Arctic.

Adrift (∆Asea-ice) is a video vignette from an Arctic tipping point, bearing witness to our own contribution to climate change. Its multiple screens explore cognitive dissonance; cause and effect; human and cryological time. The soundtrack comprises æolian sounds from an empty water tank in the Artist’s Residence at Upernavik Museum in northwest Greenland that ‘sings’ when it is windy.

*Notz, D., & Stroeve, J. (2016): Observed Arctic sea-ice loss directly follows anthropogenic CO₂ emission. Science, 354, 747–750

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Editor’s Note: All information published as submitted by the author(s). Minor edits may have been made to increase readability and understanding.