Melting clock ticks off climate-focused week

Chilling exhibit brings home reality of rising temperatures

As Copenhagen prepares itself for a slew of climate-related events this week, huge chunks of ice will be melting at the steps of City Hall beginning on Sunday to emphasize the alarming rate at which temperatures and sea levels are rising.

Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson and Greenlandic geologist Minik Rosing are bringing twelve huge chunks of ice collected from a fjord near Nuuk, Greenland, to Copenhagen and are placing them in a clock formation, calling the exhibition, Ice Watch.

Why so much? Why now?

The choice of bringing this much ice to the city is not arbitrary – one hundred tons is the amount of inland ice that melts every hundredth of a second, according to the Ice Watch press release.

“Ice Watch makes the climate challenges we are facing tangible,” Eliasson said in a press release. “I hope that people will touch the inland ice on City Hall Square and be touched by it.”

The exhibit will be unveiled on Sunday, October 26 at 2pm and will be on view until Wednesday, October 29.

“Science and technology have made it possible for us to destabilise Earth’s climate,” Rosing said in a press release, “but now that we understand the mechanisms behind these changes, we have the power to prevent them from growing.”

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The timing of this exhibition is also not arbitrary and coincides with the review of the IPCC's (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) fifth main report, taking place in Copenhagen all week. Over 600 scientists and government representatives will be in the city for the meeting.

This also comes at a time when Denmark's Ministry of Environment is set to release its grim report on the effects of climate change for the country, which present a picture of large and more frequent flooding, as well as high damage costs.