Sea Change

bioGraphic

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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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…

Being Prepared

Nature

When a key member of a team is lost, the work does not have to come to an end.

When Michael Pisaric was two years into his PhD, he travelled to Watson Lake in Canada with his supervisor, Julian Szeicz, and graduate student Tammy Karst-Riddoch, to collect sediment from several lakes in Yukon and in northern British Columbia. Szeicz was a geographer at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada, who worked on reconstructing ancient climates. The trio hoped that the samples would reveal how climate had influenced tree-line dynamics in the region over the past 10,000 years.

As they trudged through the snow and negotiated a series of switchbacks, a snow avalanche roared down the hill and covered them. When it cleared, Pisaric was buried up to his shoulders and there was no sign of Szeicz. Karst-Riddoch dug Pisaric out and they ran down the hillside to call the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who recovered Szeicz’s body later that day.

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The New Lice Wars

Maclean’s Despite evidence that it’s time to abandon the no-nit rule requiring kids be sent home, schools have yet to get the message. When her three-year-old daughter was in daycare, Lisa got her first lice-alert telephone call. There were a slew of calls during senior kindergarten and more in Grade 1. The message was the same each time: Her daughter had nits in her hair and needed to be picked up. Lisa, who lives in Toronto, would postpone client meetings … Read more…