Arctic

A satellite image shows how a decades-old fence erected between Finland and Norway affected Arctic vegetation by altering the movement of reindeer herds.

Effects of a fence

Tim Vernimmen
| 22nd August 2018
A satellite image reveals how humans and their herds are changing the Arctic from the ground up, reports TIM VERNIMMEN

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View south from the mine site to Narsaq below. Photo: Bill Williams.

Greenland Inuit oppose open-pit uranium mine on Arctic mountain-top

Bill Williams
| 17th August 2017
A collapse in the price of uranium has not yet stopped Australian mining company GME from trying to press ahead with a massive open-pit uranium mine on an Arctic mountain in southern Greenland, writes Bill Williams - just returned from the small coastal town of Narsaq where local people and Inuit campaigners are driving the growing resistance to the ruinous project.

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There's carbon in the world's permafrost soils, like these at Summit Lake, Mount Evans/ Mount Spalding, Colorado - more than in the entire atmosphere!  Photo: Wally Gobetz via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Permafrost thaw threatens flood of carbon, methane emissions

Alex Kirby
| 12th April 2017
Permafrost is much more sensitive to warmer temperatures than previously known, writes Alex Kirby. A new study shows that every 1C of warming could melt 4 million sq.km of frozen soil, releasing huge amounts of methane and carbon dioxide to add to the warming. It's time to start meeting those Paris targets!

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Last month's record low sea ice in the Arctic is bad news for the global climate, and for the polar bears who depend on the ice for their hunting. Photo: Patrick Kelley / US Coast Guard via Flickr (Public Domain).

Arctic ice recedes to record low for May

Tim Radford
| 10th June 2016
After 12 successive months of record high global temperatures, yet another record has been broken, writes Tim Radford: the lowest May sea ice extent ever observed in the Arctic - over half a million square kilometers under the previous low, set in 2004.

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Time, tide and sea level rise wait for no one ... so are we ready? Photo: clappstar via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

No planet for optimists: coastal flooding may come sooner and bigger than we think

Pete Dolack
| 8th April 2016
Of all the impacts of climate change, one stands out for its inexorable menace, writes Pete Dolack: rising oceans. And it's not just for distant future generations to deal with: new scientific studies show that people alive today may face 6-9 metres of sea level rise flooding well over a million sq.km including many of the world's biggest cities. So where's the emergency response?

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The Denesuline have long suffered and protested against the treatment of their people from industrial organisations causing damage to their territories and the environment. Photo: ItzaFineDay via Flickr (CC BY)

Sacred land, unholy uranium: Canada's mining industry in conflict with First Nations

Committee for Future Generations
| 30th March 2016
For Saskatchewan, uranium is an important part of the economy, but for the province's indigenous peoples, the land is everything. It is filled with relationships between beings who dwell together in an interconnected web. Their traditional ecological knowledge is not just a set of terms or data, but a deep, broadly-viewed reality which contains systematic respect for all creation.

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A Mélange of Ice ... a glacier pours from the Greenland ice sheet between two mountain peaks into a narrow valley on its journey to the sea. Photo: NASA's Earth Observatory via Flickr (CC BY).

Greenland's darkening ice is melting faster

Tim Radford
| 15th March 2016
A dusty film of pollution is muting the reflective whiteness of Greenland's pristine icecap and making it vulnerable to accelerated melting rates, writes Tim Radford. And as warming continues, the declining reflectivity of the ice is accelerating the process.

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Fishing trawler making its way across the Arctic ice. Photo: tpsdave via Pixabay (CC0 1.0)

Arctic warming opens pristine ocean to predatory trawling

Joe Sandler Clarke
Greenpeace Energydesk
| 3rd March 2016
Ice melt in the Arctic Ocean is opening up previously untouched areas to industrial fishing fleets using ecologically risky bottom trawling methods, writes Joe Sandler Clarke. Ecosystems supporting walruses, polar bears, puffins and other sea birds could be stripped bare.

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John Nissen speaking at AMEG's COP20 press conference. Photo: still from video on unfccc6.meta-fusion.com/ .

The melting Arctic - John Nissen's emergency call to action

Tomás d'Ornellas
| 15th December 2015
The Earth faces an imminent crisis caused by runaway Arctic warming. So says climate campaigner John Nissen, who travelled to COP20 in Lima to impress the dangers on delegates - and urge them to emergency action to cool the Arctic before it's too late. Tomás d'Ornellas, editor of Tecnews.pe, met him there ...

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Proposed rig for Statoil's Aasta Hansteen gas field in the Arctic waters of the Norwegian Sea. A pipeline to Norway's coast is now under construction. Photo: Statoil Image Bank / ASA.

Norway's dash for Arctic oil violates its own Constitution

Aleksander Melli
Pål W. Lorentzen
Mari Seilskjær
Hans Morten Haugen
Truls Gulowsen
| 16th October 2015
Large-scale oil extraction in the Arctic is irreconcilable with the 2C global warming limit, write Aleksander Melli, Pål W. Lorentzen, Mari Seilskjær, Hans Morten Haugen & Truls Gulowsen. And that puts Norway's dash to develop Arctic oil into direct conflict with its Constitution, which requires the state to try and secure climate stability for its citizens, present and future. A lawsuit is imminent.

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Yes we did! Shell no Kayak Flotilla climate stabilization demo in April 2015. Photo: Backbone Campaign via Flickr (CC BY).

Victory! Shell quits Arctic

Terry Macalister
the Guardian Environment
| 28th September 2015
Shell's US president says the oil giant's unpopular drilling operations in Alaska's Chukchi Sea will stop for the 'foreseeable future' as exploratory drilling finds little oil and gas to justify its $7 billion investment.

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There's a mammoth surprise lurking in the permafrost: 1,700 billion tonnes of frozen carbon. Let that go and the world's climate may never be the same. BC Museum Photo: Tyler Ingram via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Mammoth Arctic carbon thaw would cost us $43 trillion

Tim Radford
| 23rd September 2015
Something scary is lurking in the melting Arctic permafrost, write Tim Radford & Oliver Tickell: 1,700 Gt of carbon. That's 53 years worth of current emissions, and if we let it melt the impact would cost the world $43 tn. Or act now, and we could preserve the Arctic ice for a seventh as much.

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The Gerlache strait, Andvord Bay, Antarctica. Photo: Rita Willaert via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

The world is already committed to a six meter sea level rise

Pete Dolack
Systemic Disorder
| 24th July 2015
The climate change discourse rarely looks beyond 2100, writes Pete Dolack. Maybe that's because even at current levels of CO2, we are committed to thousands of years of warming and polar ice melt that will raise sea levels by at least six meters. However the implacable imperatives of capitalism mean there's little prospect of change for a long time to come.

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Scientists had thought that Arctic rivers like the Kolyma in Siberia carry dissolved carbon from melting permafrost to the oceans. They were wrong - it's all emitted to the atmosphere as CO2. Photo: Магадан via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Thawing Arctic carbon threatens 'runaway' global warming

Tim Radford
| 14th May 2015
Arctic warming is releasing ancient organic matter that's been deep-frozen for millennia, writes Tim Radford. And now scientists have discovered its fate: within weeks it's all digested by bacteria and released to the atmosphere as CO2 - with potentially catastrophic impacts on climate.

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A polar bear keeps close to her young along the Beaufort Sea coast in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Photo: Susanne Miller / USFWS via Flickr (CC BY).

Polar bears at risk from pollution as well as warmth

Tim Radford
| 24th April 2015
As if melting ice in Polar bears' Arctic habitat was not enough, Norwegian scientists have found that organic pollutants such as pesticide residues are disrupting their thyroid and endocrine systems, adding a further threat to the species' survival.

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Will walruses (Odobenus r. rosmarus) be stranded by melting ice in the Arctic? A herd of young males resting on a small patch of drifting ice at 80° North, off Moffen Island, Svalbard, Norway. Photo: Allan Hopkins via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Ice melt endangers Arctic mammals

Tim Radford
| 2nd April 2015
A survey of threatened Arctic mammals highlights melting sea ice as a prime threat to eleven keystone species, writes Tim Radford - meaning that efforts to conserve them may be doomed to failure unless we also tackle the causes of climate change.

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The melting Chukchi Sea, 20th July 2011: the US Coast Guard Cutter Healy encountered only small patches of sea ice in the Chukchi Sea during the final days collecting ocean data for the 2011 ICESCAPE mission. Photo: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center via Fl

Save the Arctic sea ice while we still can!

John Nissen
| 5th March 2015
The Arctic Ocean is coming close to complete summer meltdown, writes John Nissen - indeed it could happen as soon as September, triggering a severe deterioration in climate across the northern hemisphere. With fast-rising temperatures predicted in the coming decade, we must act now to save the Arctic, before it's too late.

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NASA image of the Arctic sea ice on March 6, 2010. Image: NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio; Blue Marble data courtesy of Reto Stockli (NASA/GSFC), via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Coming soon: the 'Big Heat'

Nafeez Ahmed
| 3rd March 2015
Global warming has been on vacation for a few years, writes Nafeez Ahmed. But that's only because the excess heat - two Hiroshima bombs-worth every second - has been buried in the deep ocean. But within a few years that's set to change, producing a huge decade-long warming surge, focused on the Arctic, that could overwhelm us all.

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Finland's lakes are freezing later in the autumn, and melting later in the spring. Photo: Dennis Stauffer via Flickr CC-BY.

Rapid Arctic warming is spreading south

Alex Kirby
| 26th December 2014
Rising temperatures in the Arctic are reaching further south to the lakes and forests of Finland, writes Alex Kirby. But the warming is not affecting summer temperatures - it's concentrated into the colder months, causing a shorter, less severe winter.

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