Greenland Comes to Chicago

Greenland Comes to Chicago

Smell the sea and feel the sky
Let your soul and spirit fly
Into the mystic
— Van Morrison, Into the Mystic, from Moondance (1970)

Last week I read an article about the early thaw in Greenland’s ice sheet. Temperatures are running 40 degrees above normal, with the mile-deep ice cover declining by two billion tons. To visualize how much ice that is, one television station offered the following image: the National Mall filled with ice rising to a height of eight times that of the Washington Monument. That’s a lot of ice. Certainly a more impressive number than the headcount for Trump’s inauguration.

I am anything but a scientist, but I have noticed that this has been a very wet spring in Chicago, with the lousy weather now extending into summer. it was also very wet and grey in Amsterdam and Paris, where I was in late May and early June.

This weekend Chicago experienced fog and jacket-worthy temperatures. It made me wonder whether what is happening in Greenland and elsewhere in the Arctic circle might be the cause of our miserable weather and the record floods in the Plains states. Presumably the water from the melted ice ascends to the atmosphere, with jet streams and air currents carrying it to other parts of the world.

In tragedy, there often is beauty, particularly when it comes to nature-related tragedy. I decided to go for a walk along Lake Michigan’s shoreline today. It was cold, but there was something hauntingly beautiful about the fog, particularly the cyan tones that the camera captured. No one was swimming, but the lifeguards were on duty. While I was out, the warning flags were changed from yellow to red. I suspect the currents were pretty treacherous.

It is worth noting that areas that were sandy beach last year are now completely covered by water. Several years ago, I spent the winter photographing beach-erosion pylons that are several hundred feet off shore. Those pylons are barely visible now.

Click on a photograph to enlarge it.

Lake Michigan is Expected to Rise to Record Levels by Late June

Lifeguards Kept Swimmers Out of the Water

No One Used Ladders Leading to the Lake

With No People in the Water, the Lifeguards Contemplated the Fog

The Boat-Shaped Depression-Era Bathhouse (Rebuilt in 1999) Was Empty

Sailors Were Out, But Were Barely Visible I

Sailors Were Out, But Were Barely Visible II

Lake Michigan Overflowing the Concrete Shoreline

Beached Boats

Just One of Many Volleyball Games

Looking Back Toward Civilization

Belmont Harbor

Music Box Theatre

Music Box Theatre

Marquis Hill

Marquis Hill