Sea Change

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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 and into the fjord, ending abruptly in towering turquoise walls. Chunks of ice drift by, sizzling and popping like sheets of bubble wrap as they melt and release air captured ages ago.

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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…

Cities Beat the Heat

Nature Rising temperatures are threatening urban areas, but efforts to cool them may not work as planned. The greenhouses that sprawl across the coastline of southeastern Spain are so bright that they gleam in satellite photos. Since the 1970s, farmers have been expanding this patchwork of buildings in Almería province to grow produce such as tomatoes, peppers and watermelons for export. To keep the plants from overheating in the summer, they paint the roofs with white lime to reflect the … Read more…

A Root of Change

Bracing for Impact The harvest of wild American ginseng root has been a part of North American culture for 300 years, but this tradition is in peril. Is it possible to save both a species and a pastime? An aged photograph, archived in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, shows the memorabilia once on display at the Sundial Tavern, near Naoma, W.Va. Photos of babies, teenaged girls in prom dresses and a boy in football uniform adorn … Read more…