Listen to climate change in Alaska through place-based narrative. Ice and Fire is a podcast that uses audio storytelling to share glacier change as the global climate warms. Season one emphasizes the significance glacier melt, and connects listeners to distant glaciers rapidly responding to anthropogenic climate change through dialogue with researchers, traditional knowledge-bearers, and by sharing audio of ice-melt in real time.
fire and ice
In the last episode of the season, we dissect Robert Frost's 1920 poem, Fire and Ice, over a tent poetry session. This involves grappling with climate anxiety, and recognizing the role of personal behaviors in perpetuating the climate crisis.
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In the last full episode of the season, we travel to the Greenland ice sheet and hear from a researcher who collects data at the face of tidewater glaciers, studying the turbulent zone where freshwater meets and mixes with seawater. This episode emphasizes the transition of solid ice into liquid freshwater, occurring globally, due to increasing temps, and shares why loss of the frozen reservoir matters.
topics and purpose: scene-setting in Greenland, transition and movement of water molecules globally as part of the interconnected hydrological cycle, increasing temperatures and glacier melt events due to anthropogenic climate change, research methods on ice and at the glacier-ocean interface, the global significance and utility of glaciers, balance, wrapping up the season
terms defined: freshwater reservoir, seismology, sonification, geophones, icequakes
notes: Learn more about the Glacioburst/sonification project by Mertl Research
In episode five we hear what makes tidewater glacier habitat an acoustic refuge, and why glaciers are important to other species in the ecosystem. We also discuss One Health connections, how Traditional Ecological Knowledge has allowed us to track the rate of melting tidewater glaciers, and close with the cascading ramifications of glacier habitat loss to living organisms.
topics and purpose: One Health connections, tidewater glacier habitat, acoustic refuge: marine mammals depend on the tidewater glacier ecosystem, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, and habitat change/loss as the climate changes
terms defined: One Health, tidewater glacier, iceberg, calving event, harbor seal, site fidelity, acoustic refuge
In mini-episode four, we listen to part of the glacier travel story shared in the book Do Glaciers Listen? for a second time. Frank Olive from the University of Alaska Fairbanks shares risk mitigation strategies, like roping up to avoid injury during crevasse falls.
topics and purpose: safety, why we rope up for travel on snow-covered glaciers
terms defined: crevasse, snow bridge
In episode three we hear from Judy Ramos in Lingít Aaní. She tells us about the history of glacier travel in the region, and about the Spirit of the Glacier.
topics and purpose: Indigenous people in Alaska and Canada have been traveling on glaciers for hundreds to thousands of years, oral stories in the region about glaciers, historic glacier advance and retreat impacted communities, Spirit of the Glacier, glaciers respond to people
terms defined: Traditional Ecological Knowledge, Indigenous science
In episode two of the Ice and Fire podcast, we are atop the Kennicott Glacier in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park with Dr. Eric Petersen and his field team.
topics and purpose: audio capture of glacier melt occurring in real-time, continue place-based themes from the surface of a glacier, connect listeners with field research and techniques, share how glacial retreat is measured and how rapidly retreat is occurring
terms defined: ablation, ablation stake, ablation zone; glacial retreat; dead glacier; Heucke drill
notes: Philipp Arndt, PhD student, contributed to this episode with explanations for how to set an ablation stake