Thin Ice

Directed and Produced by Simon Lamb & David Sington / Executive Producer: Peter Barrett

“A coffee-break conversation at a climate-change conference in Wellington in 2006 was the beginning of this small but accomplished doco, which provides a lucid and highly accessible summary about the research underpinning greenhouse-gas emission and global warming.

The brainchild of Simon Lamb, a geologist with Oxbridge pedigree who is now at Victoria University in Wellington, the film touches base with scientists in both hemispheres – most of them at higher latitudes – as they explain the nature of their work: how it enables them to peer back into our climate’s past and how that allows them reliably to predict its future.

Lamb has an engagingly eccentric tone and the film abounds in striking images, such as crocodiles swimming off the coast of Greenland, but it has its feet firmly on the ground.

The film nevertheless documents with impressive clarity the essentials of the issue: that climate-change research may be new, but the underlying science is not; that the relationship between CO2 levels and temperature is a lock-step one; that greenhouse gases create an “infrared murkiness” above us that makes it harder for the planet to shed heat.

In a better world, of course, a film like this, rather than competitions between chefs who can’t cook, would be prime-time Sunday night viewing (it was streamed online in 2013 and screened in the US on 90 public television stations last July). Cinemas bold enough to screen it deserve gratitude and patronage.” Peter Calder, New Zealand Herald

“‘Thin Ice: The Inside Story of Climate Science’ sounds like a yawner.

But geologist Simon Lamb has created an illuminating film that looks at work being done around the planet by atmospheric physicists, paleoclimatologists, oceanographers, engineers, biochemists and other researchers that understandably explains global warming while giving the lie to the deniers who claim that the scientists are twisting their finds to prove that Earth is getting hotter.

He does so by taking his camera from Antarctica to Norway, filming ice coring operations and reindeer, watching weather balloons launched in his homeland of New Zealand and battling seasickness on the giant waves of the southern Pacific to film scientists gathering and analyzing deep sea water.

The scientists interviewed, particularly English atmospheric physicist Myles Allen and American paleoclimate modeller Matthew Huber, delineate their work, but also explain the general dynamics of global warming, past and present, and make some educated forecasts of the future.

But the last word in “Thin Ice” goes to University of Nebraska-Lincoln geologist David Harwood, who after being seen on the Antarctic ice shelf, says he tells kids not be scared of global warming, but to become the best scientists, engineers, etc., they can be to help work the planet out of the problem.

That optimistic view is the perfect way to end the film that, through its beautifully shot footage and testimony of the scientists, proves beyond argument that global warming is taking place, and those who monitor and research it are doing what they can to preserve the future.” L. Kent Wolgamott, Lincoln Journal Star

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