Sea Change

The Arctic Ocean is beginning to look and act more like the Atlantic. It’s a shift that threatens to upend an entire food web built on frigid waters. On a cool morning in late July, the Oceania, a blue and white, three-masted research vessel, maneuvers through the dark waters of a fjord on the west coast of the Arctic island of Spitsbergen. Craggy peaks streaked with snow rise sharply out of the water. Expansive sweeps of glacial ice plow between mountains … Read more…

High Stakes in the High North

A Remote island that harbored the word’s last mammoths is becoming a holdout for Arctic wildlife once again. A stiff wind buffeted the helicopter as it set down near the gravel shore of Wrangel Island, a remote spot of land 300 miles north of the Arctic Circle in Russia’s extreme Far East. After flying two and a half hours from Pevek, Russia, mostly over open water, the aircraft smelled of vodka and gasoline from the extra fuel cans secured inside. … Read more…

Broken Bones Stir Debate

Sapiens A controversial new study places our human ancestors on the North American continent 130,000 years ago—far, far earlier than previously thought In the fall of 1992, a construction crew made an unusual discovery during a freeway expansion in a coastal area of San Diego County. Buried deep within the silty soil were the bones, tusks, and molars of a mastodon, an elephant-like mammal that once lived in North America. When archaeologists took a closer look, they found signs that … Read more…

Preventing Overfishing in the Arctic

The Atlantic A consortium of countries are meeting in Iceland, where they hope to strike a deal that protects the newly accessible ecosystem The Arctic Ocean has long been the least accessible of the world’s major oceans. But as climate change warms the Arctic twice as fast as anywhere else, the thick sea ice that once made it so forbidding is now beating a hasty retreat. Since 1979, when scientists began using satellites to track changes in the Arctic sea-ice … Read more…