Zac Bowland, an alumnus from University of Utah is a deep-sea diver who travels across several countries to perform scientific dives for the purpose of collecting information regarding climate change and attempting to develop strategic diving techniques especially in extreme environmental conditions.
Bowland has served the US Navy as a test flight crew initially and later on promoted as an aviation officer until he was commissioned to be a mustang naval officer due to his exceptional performance.
He completed his dive training at Seneca College’s Underwater Skills Program and became exceptionally interested in diving to his limits especially reaching high altitudes. However, upon researching he noticed that there are very few resources that can be found.
“Generally, the upper limits of altitude diving are limited to 8,000-10,000 feet above sea level The highest lakes in the world are up to 19,500 feet. When I started researching diving at such high altitudes, I found startlingly little information,” Bowland stated.
For this matter, VDEx or Vanguard Diving & Exploration and Steep N’ Deep projects came into being with the mission to be the first to perform research diving operations in extreme altitudes and isolation diving. The creation of the projects paved the way for the discovery of GLOF or glacial lake outburst flooding that can possibly harm communities in the vicinity of these lakes.
“I learned that there are thousands of these lakes and we don’t really know which ones are most likely to burst. Very little is known about what is going on below the water surface. We want to emphasize that the team is a collection of private citizens taking responsibility for the welfare of our ecosystem. Modern society’s disconnection from the natural world has led many to forget that we our well-being depends on the planet’s well-being. We’re not going to wait to for someone else to fix this situation for us, so we’re taking matters into our own hands.” according to Bowland.
The risks associated with GLOF are being assessed by the Steep N’ Deep project to prevent dangers to neighboring regions and to be a source of information regarding glacial lake systems.