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Category archives for Arctic

Climate, and the Dividing Line Between Forest and Tundra

In northern Alaska’s Brooks Range, the earth as most of us know it comes to an end. From Fairbanks, the northernmost city on the North American road grid, drive up the graveled Dalton Highway. Unpeopled boreal forest stretches in all directions. About 200 miles on, you pass the arctic circle, beyond which the sun never sets in midsummer, nor rises in midwinter.…

Changing Arctic: On Board Healy Icebreaker

The newest and most technologically advanced polar icebreaker in the United States fleet is the US Coast Guard icebreaker Healy. The Healy is involved in research in the Arctic, where 80 crew members and 50 scientists are often at sea for weeks on end.

The Last Ice: Stories From Sacred Spaces

From Pacific islands to Arctic coastlines, indigenous people have been listening to and learning from the environment for millennia. Now more than ever, it’s time for everyone to hear what it’s saying.

Diving Deep Below Arctic Ice to Bring Back Our Ocean’s Skeletons: #bestjobever

Polar expeditions to explore the ocean are not for the faint of heart. Above the water’s surface, you better be on alert for polar bears. Below, you better be game for diving 60 feet under sea ice into freezing temperatures. Watch National Geographic grantee Branwen Williams lead a team to the Canadian Arctic to do both in an effort to better understand how our oceans and the climate are changing over time.

It’s a Nice Day for a Mud Wedding

What better place to say your vows than surrounded by your best friends and sea monster fossils on a nearly frozen island?

An Arctic gift-wrapped in plastic?

Let’s hope not. But—. All of us who’ve traveled long and far have seen the amount of plastic on beaches increase incredibly in our lifetime. And it isn’t slowing anytime soon. The worst plastic accumulations I’ve seen are in the tropics, near where most of the people are. A lot of it comes to the…

Spectacularity—While it lasts

The high Arctic is—well, it’s cold. It’s the Arctic after all. And we are very far north. Far north of Iceland, way up at 78º N and way north of Norway, in the waters around an astonishing group of rock-and-ice islands known as Svalbard. Greenpeace has invited me to join them for a while on…

Life aboard Greenpeace’s ship Arctic sunrise

I’m here in the Norwegian Arctic for a few days, cruising the waters of Svalbard as a guest on Greenpeace’s ship Arctic Sunrise. Fish like cod are moving north as ice melts and waters warm. So Greenpeace has worked an agreement with fishing companies and giant retailers like McDonald’s to put fishing expansion here on…

This walrus blog contains plastic

I’m in the high Arctic, far north of Norway at around 78º N latitude in a group of islands known collectively as Svalbard. For a few days I’m a guest on the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise while we do a little investigating into the arrival of fishing ships into these waters as the ocean warms…

Glimpse of Arctic seafloor reveals trawler’s damage

I’m in the Arctic in the waters of Svalbard, north of Norway, at 78º North Latitude during the time of year when the sun never sets. For a few days I’m a guest aboard Greenpeace’s ship Arctic Sunrise. We’re concerned about damage to the seafloor by a recent influx of fishing trawlers into the high…

High in the Arctic up-close with a mega-fishing trawler

I’m in the high Arctic in the waters of Svalbard, north of Norway, at 78º North Latitude in early July. For a few days I’m a guest aboard Greenpeace’s ship Arctic Sunrise. Bundled in clothes that I hope will keep me dry and maybe even warm, I’m at a doorway that opens straight to the…

Seven ways fishing trawlers aren’t great for the seabed

I’m writing this in the high Arctic at 78º North Latitude in early July, aboard Greenpeace’s Arctic Sunrise where I’m a guest for a few days, with 24-hour daylight and gleaming glaciers in the valleys of snow-capped coastal mountains. We’re here because shrinking sea ice and warming ocean water is moving fish farther north, and…

Not the last polar bear

We’re up in the high Arctic, in Svalbard. I’m a guest for a few days on the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise. (It’s a bit of a misnomer at this time of year because the sun never sets, so—to paraphrase Hemingway—the sun also never rises.) As we are slowly leaving Isfjorden (Icy Fjords) 78º N and…

Uncharted Arctic waters: A new opportunity for exploitation, or conservation?

Co-authored by Erica Cirino When thick sheets of sea ice began melting in the Arctic waters around Svalbard, Norway, a few years ago, a new expanse of sparkling blue sea opened up. As climate change continues to drive ice melt here on the previously untouched waters of the North Barents Sea, what many ocean conservationists…

Best Job Ever: Exploring Super-Remote Caves in Greenland

Geologist Gina Moseley started caving for sport when she was 13 years old, and now she’s in it for science. Moseley is constructing the first cave-based record of past climate change for Greenland.