Farewell by Stian Klo Collection Header Image

About this series

Why is it called Greenland when it isn't green? So the old joke goes. Whatever the Danish settlers had in mind when they named the world's largest island Grønland, it didn't speak for the massive expanse of snow and ice that lay inland from its habitable-looking coastline.

If it was ever ironic, it may well not be for much longer. Greenland may become truly green, or at least a lot less white, sooner than any of us would like. The ice that still presses down on this vast, rugged polar land is of critical global importance, and is, with Antarctica's, one of only two ice sheets on the planet. A physical relic of the ice age that, if reduced to meltwater, would lift the levels of the global seas by six metres.

And melting it is, catalyzed by humans and their activities. It is thought that Greenland may lose more ice this century than it has in the last 12,000 years, the sea ice surrounding its coast becoming thinner and more brittle every year. It's a pattern that could accelerate if our efforts to stabilize the climate fail.

The images in this collection represent Greenland at a time of beautiful, alarming, change. Spectral and eerie, the images are a visual farewell to ice that may have been part of the landscape for thousands of years. Newly mobile, meltwater-crafted ice on a final voyage, sailing into oblivion, becoming one with the waters of the rising seas. And those around them, from tourists, to petrels, to whales, can do nothing but watch.

Ajunnginniarna (Farewell in Greenlandic)