Arctic

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Tanker Is 1st Ship to Cross Arctic Without Icebreaker

Shrinking ice and new technology helped

(Newser) - For the first time in history, a ship was able to traverse the Northern Sea Route through the Arctic without the help of an accompanying icebreaker thanks to new tanker technology—and climate change. The New York Times reports the Christophe de Margerie, carrying liquefied natural gas from Norway to... More »

People Now Getting Ivory Fix From Woolly Mammoths

But the hunt in Siberia is taking a toll

(Newser) - The hunt is on for frozen tusks from the extinct woolly mammoth, and NPR reports that it's making people rich in otherwise poor regions of Siberia. But it's also taking a devastating toll on the landscape, according to a photographer who embedded with hunters for three weeks. "... More »

Ship Records Earliest Crossing of Fabled Northwest Passage

Beats one set in 2008

(Newser) - After 24 days at sea and a journey spanning more than 6,214 miles, the Finnish icebreaker MSV Nordica has set a new record for the earliest transit of the fabled Northwest Passage. The once-forbidding route through the Arctic, linking the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans, has been opening up... More »

This Is the Fabled Northwest Passage at Midnight

An AP photographer documents

(Newser) - Up in the Arctic this time of year, you'll find the "midnight sun." Its warm light is comparable to what occurs in photography's "golden hour"—just after sunrise or just before sunset. Instead of lasting an hour, in this case, it lasts all night... More »

What May Vanish From the Arctic by 2030

Scientists: There could be no more summer ice by then, thanks to climate change

(Newser) - Fancy an Arctic cruise? With climate change melting the planet's sea ice faster than ever, the globe's northern-most points could become a check on the well-traveled tourist's bucket list. That possibility is giving goose bumps to maritime experts who say safety measures are lacking. "It's... More »

As Sea Ice Dwindles, Polar Bear Attacks Rise

20% of polar bear attacks happened in last 5 years of 144-year study

(Newser) - There were only 73 reported polar bear attacks on humans between 1870 and 2014, according to a study published this month in Wildlife Society Bulletin . But 20% of those attacks happened in just the last five years of the study, and Alaska Dispatch News reports researchers have found a correlation... More »

'Hotspot' of Plastic Trash Found in the Arctic

Scientists fear effects on animals already under threat

(Newser) - In a further sign that plastic is not-so-slowly taking over our oceans , scientists say they've found a "hotspot" of plastic pollution from bags, bottles, and toys in Arctic waters. And the amount of plastic amassing on the ocean surface, in sea ice, and possibly even on the ocean... More »

One Woman's Desperation Advanced Polar Exploration

Meet the remarkable Lady Jane Franklin

(Newser) - In 1845, renowned explorer John Franklin set sail from England across the northern Atlantic in the hopes of discovering and successfully navigating the Northwest Passage. Three years later, with no word from the HMS Erebus and the HMS Terror, it became clear that the seasoned Arctic explorer and his crew... More »

Radioactive Bloom Over Europe Sparks Nuke Test Concerns

But it was probably just a pharmaceutical accident

(Newser) - As mysterious radiation spread over the Arctic and south into Europe last month, conspiracy theorists quickly claimed Russia had restarted nuclear testing at Novaya Zemlya, the Drive reports. But the truth is—probably—a lot less menacing. According to the Independent Barents Observer , a spike in the radioactive isotope Iodine-131... More »

Scientists Plan to Strand a Ship in Arctic Ice

Polarstern will drift across North Pole so researchers can get info on climate change

(Newser) - The nearly 400-foot-long Polarstern is designed to break through ice in frigid waters—but for an upcoming trip to study climate change, Germany is going to purposely let its ship become stuck in the middle of the floes, per the BBC . In what the Telegraph paints as a "daring... More »

Temperature at North Pole Nearly 50 Above Normal

The Arctic is nearing the melting point when it should be freezing

(Newser) - Hope Santa has a summer outfit on hand. The New York Times reports scientists have been "startled" by the extremely warm temperatures in the Arctic over the past two months. In mid-November, some areas of the Arctic were more than 35 degrees above average, while mean temperatures for the... More »

Obama Makes It Much Harder for Trump to Drill in the Arctic

Presidents uses 1953 law to ban oil leases in much of Arctic, Atlantic

(Newser) - President Obama has designated the bulk of US-owned waters in the Arctic Ocean and certain areas in the Atlantic Ocean as indefinitely off limits to future oil and gas leasing, the AP reports. The move on Tuesday helps put some finishing touches on Obama's environmental legacy while also testing... More »

Santa's Reindeer Are Shrinking

Blame warmer temperatures, say scientists

(Newser) - Santa might need to recruit a few extra reindeer this year. According to Scottish scientists, Arctic reindeer are shrinking in size. Scientists weighed 135 reindeer on Norway's Svalbard archipelago, about 800 miles from the North Pole, each April from 1994 to 2015 and found the animals shrank from 121... More »

Narwhals 'See' Unlike Any Other Species

Directional sonar helps them find areas free of ice

(Newser) - Whales need to surface in order to breathe, and the narwhal is no different. Every four to six minutes, the Arctic whale—including males with a long tooth resembling a horn—must emerge from the depths of Baffin Bay between Baffin Island and Greenland, where 80% of all narwhals winter,... More »

There's a Mysterious Sound Coming From Canada's Arctic

Canadian military, however, found nothing odd

(Newser) - Something appears to be making a mysterious "pinging" noise on the sea floor of the Canadian Arctic. Inuit hunters in a remote community in Nunavut first reported the sound—also described as a "hum" or "beep"—complaining that it was scaring away marine animals in an... More »

Squirrels Prove It: Females Do All the Work, Guys Goof Off

Males appear to spend a lot of time basking in the sun: new study

(Newser) - Science has given tired women everywhere their I-told-you-so-moment, and it comes courtesy of the hapless Arctic ground squirrel: The males of the species appear to spend most of their non-hibernating months soaking up the rays above ground while the females are kept busy either nursing their young below ground or... More »

Cruise Ship Sails Through Melting Northwest Passage

Environmentalists say it's part of the problem

(Newser) - The Crystal Serenity's current journey through the Arctic is historic. At nearly three football fields long and 13 stories tall, the cruise ship is the largest ever to traverse the Northwest Passage , where its 900 or so well-heeled guests have glimpsed polar bears, kayaked along Canada's north shore,... More »

Famous Shipwreck in Canada Finally Floats Again

Norwegians have spent 6 years recovering Arctic explorer Roald Amundsen's ship

(Newser) - For six years, a small team of Norwegians has worked tirelessly to recover a famous shipwreck in the remote hamlet of Cambridge Bay in Nunavut, a northern territory of Canada—and as of Saturday, they were finally able to lift it off the ocean floor thanks in large part to... More »

Scientist Finds Tallest Mountain in US Arctic— and a Surprise

Mount Isto is tallest, followed by Mount Hubley

(Newser) - It's been the subject of a half-century-long debate. But thanks to a new mapping technique, mountain experts have identified the tallest mountain in the US Arctic and uncovered a bit of a surprise as well. Using fodar , a technique he invented to map terrain using airborne photography, glaciologist Matt... More »

US Government Halts New Offshore Arctic Drilling

Government blames sinking oil prices and Shell's lack of success in the Arctic Ocean

(Newser) - In bad news for the Alaskan economy but good news for polar bears, the US government blocked new offshore drilling in Alaska's Arctic Ocean and refused to extend two existing leases for Arctic drilling on Friday, the New York Times reports. The Interior Department cancelled auctions for drilling rights... More »

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