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The Arctic Melt: Images of a Disappearing Landscape

Photographs by Diane Tuft

September 1, 2017 - February 20, 2018

NAS Building, 2101 Constitution Ave., N.W.

Free. Photo ID required.

Diane Tuft explores the effects of climate change on the Arctic in this exhibition. She traveled by plane, boat, and helicopter during the summers of 2015 and 2016 to document landscapes in Svalbard, Norway, the Arctic Ocean’s sea ice, and the icebergs and ice sheet of Greenland. Although people are absent from her images, the destructive influence of human-caused climate change is depicted through jagged cracks in ice and flowing water.

The series features both panoramic views of icebergs and close-ups of ice. Wide views show the power and vastness of the seas, while close-up images document the fragility of the snowbound landscape as it melts away. Tuft has said of her artistic journey: “The Arctic is melting faster than any other place in the world. I felt compelled to photograph its splendor before the effects of global warming cause this landscape to disappear.” The Arctic has warmed more than twice as fast as the global average. Scientists believe this trend is caused in part by the loss of sea ice. As the reflective surface melts, it leaves darker water that absorbs more heat.

It is difficult to say for certain when the Arctic summer will be ice free. In 2012, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published a study in which scientists project an ice-free summer in the Arctic sometime between 2054 and 2058. But a recent report from the Arctic Council, an intergovernmental forum of the Arctic States, estimated that the first ice-free summer will be in 2040.

Diane Tuft is a mixed-media artist who has focused primarily on environmental fine art photography since 1998. She will speak at the February 15, 2018 D.C. Art Science Evening Rendezvous.

Image: The Arctic Melt, Greenland Sea, Arctic Ocean, 4:48 PM, 79 degrees N

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