Hi, my name is Kieran Baxter and I'm part of part of a team of filmmakers, glaciologists and science communicators working to raise awareness of how Iceland's glaciers are responding to climate change. We recently released the short film After Ice. In the summer of 2021 we installed two time-lapse cameras at Breiðamerkurjökull, the glacier that feeds Iceland's world famous Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. We knew that Breiðamerkurjökull is receding rapidly but the melt that we recorded in just six weeks surprised even the experts.
We are now raising funds to help double down on our efforts to monitor and record these fast-paced changes. By adopting a time-lapse camera you will get exclusive monthly updates direct from the glacier’s edge and your donation will support the Ice-Watch project's long-term mission to promote a clear visual understanding of Iceland's glaciers, and what they tell us about the world's climate.
Meet the team
We have an experienced interdisciplinary team who bring considerable scientific, logistical and creative expertise to the project. We are:
- Dr Kieran Baxter - Filmmaker and Lecturer in Communication Design at the University of Dundee
- Dr M Jackson - Geographer, Glaciologist and National Geographic Explorer
- Dr Þorvarður Árnason - Director of the University of Iceland's Research Centre in Hornafjörður
- Dr Hrafnhildur Hannesdóttir – Glaciologist at the Icelandic Meteorological Office
- Snævarr Guðmundsson - Glaciologist at the Southeast Iceland Nature Research Centre
- Helga Árnadóttir - Project Manager at Vatnajökull National Park
How will the funds be used?
Members of our team are already working in Vatnajökull National Park with support from our project partners. This means that all funds raised will go towards purchasing time-lapse camera equipment for the Ice-Watch project. We would like to place four new cameras around glacier termini in 2022 to monitor changes over the course of a year or more. While four cameras are our goal, when we have raised enough funds for a new camera we will go ahead and install it as soon as we can. Representative equipment costs (these can change as described in the section below) are as follows:
- The Cameras - We use Enlaps Tikee 3 Pro cameras which have several advantages. They are autonomus, robust and will send images to us remotely while also storing high-resolution files to an SD card for us to collect later. Each unit costs around £1,600 (x4=£6400).
- SD Cards - We need a lot of on-camera storage so that we can leave our cameras recording for many weeks unattended. Each 512GB Micro SD card costs around £100 (4x=£400).
- Backup Storage - Our cameras will generate a lot of data which will need backed up (in triplicate) for secure, long-term storage. Each 4TB hard drive costs around £100 (x12=£1,200).
Any risks or unknowns?
Our field trials this year have been very successful, and we are confident that the project will yield important and impactful results. Of course, unexpected setbacks can happen over the course of the project. For example, we might experience problems with the availability of equipment or damage to our cameras in the harsh Icelandic environment. We mitigate for these unknowns with testing and redundancy, meaning that if we have a problem with one camera then the chances are we can learn from it, while still getting great results from the other cameras. Our aim is to install as many cameras as we can in the most effective way possible and we will do everything we can to make your donation count.
What can we expect from the results?
When you donate to our campaign the funds will go towards your adopted time-lapse camera. Each new camera will be installed in a strategic location near the glacier margin chosen by our team of experts. The aim is to choose a view which is both scientifically useful and visually impactful. Once your camera is up and running you will receive exclusive monthly updates for the first year with images beamed from your adopted camera straight to your inbox. As the project progresses you will also hear from the team on what is happening with the cameras and, of course, the glaciers of Southeast Iceland.
On completion of the project, we feel that the resulting footage will be too important to keep to ourselves. For this reason, the results will be made freely available for use by anyone under the Creative Commons (CC BY) licence. This is in accordance with an agreement between the University of Iceland and the University of Dundee, which states that research project outcomes should be made open access. In the past, our work has featured in school textbooks, educational videos and media outlets including the BBC, EOS, The Guardian and New Scientist. The footage will also be used by the team in future documentary film projects.
Your contribution to the Ice-Watch project will make it possible for researchers, national park rangers, visitors, tour operators, filmmakers and audiences of all kinds to see more clearly the changes that are taking place in Iceland's glaciers. On behalf of them, and the team behind the project, thank you!