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A photograph of glacial ice taken by Justin Guariglia during a NASA flight over Greenland.

NASA to Collaborate with Artist to Document Climate Change

According to Hilarie M. Sheets of the New York Times, NASA is officially collaborating with artist Justin Guariglia to document climate change and explore ways to present the earth’s changing landscapes to the public.

The collaboration was announced at the Global Exchange Summit on art and science at Lincoln Center on September 16. Guariglia will be the first artist to be embedded on a NASA Greenland mission. The partnership, which NASA clarified is not a residency program, will be funded by private grants through 2020.

Guariglia, who began to photograph Greenland’s melting glaciers last year when he persuaded NASA to let him accompany officials on a military transport plane that flew at extremely low heights in the troposphere, said, “We’re not used to computing the scale of a 100,000-year-old piece of ice the size of California that’s going to break off from an ice sheet.”

Josh Willis, the lead scientist for the Oceans Melting Greenland mission, referred to as the OMG mission, said that harnessing the emotional charge of art to the scientific facts “seems like the most powerful way to help people understand just how radically we are reshaping earth’s climate.”

Over a five-year campaign, OMG will try to assess how much of Greenland’s ice is melting by observing changing water temperatures on the continental shelf surrounding the country and how marine glaciers react to the presence of the warmer and saltier water of the Atlantic.

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