A pod of narwhals (
Monodon monoceros) in central Baffin Bay. Narwhals are the most vulnerable animals to increased ship traffic in the Arctic Ocean.
Kristin Laidre/University of Washington
Climate change is shrinking Arctic sea ice and opening the region to ship traffic. Whales, seals and other marine mammals could be at risk unless nations adopt rules to protect them.
Since 2005, the Barents Sea has become too warm for sea ice to exist south of the Polar Front.
Without floating sea ice, climate-weakened ice shelves are wide open to attack by waves.
AAP Image/Caroline Berdon
Since 1995, several ice shelves off the Antarctic Peninsula have abruptly disintegrated. A new analysis suggests that these events are triggered when ice shelves lose their buffer of floating ice.
The northeast edge of the Venable Ice Shelf, near Antarctica’s Allison Peninsula.
Last summer one of Antarctica's floating ice shelves calved an iceberg the size of Delaware – but scientists say other less dramatic changes reveal more about how and why Antarctica is changing.
A polar bear breaks through think Arctic ice.
A new study shows that polar bears require more food than previously thought. The scientists used collars that tracked bears' movements and metabolic rates.
Sea ice in the Arctic.
The link between melting sea ice and extreme weather has been known for a while, but now it's happening further afield.
An Arctic iceberg, pictured in 2015. This year, ice coverage has reached record lows for the early northern winter.
The end of 2016 has brought balmy Arctic temperatures and record low ice extent for the time of year. It's a freak event even by modern standards, and climate models point the finger firmly at humans.
Sea ice covering the Arctic Ocean during the winter peak in February 2015.
NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio
There is no doubt that 2016 has been a record-breaking year for the Earth’s climate.
Testing the waters.
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Follow
Cold polar water can stop the Arctic sea ice from melting – but what happens if it warms up?
An icebreaker makes its way through Antarctica’s sea ice.
After record-breaking amounts of sea ice in Antartica, this year we're seeing record lows.
Where the ice meets the sea: Antarctica’s ice shelves play a key role in how fast ice sheets melt.
Antarctica image from www.shutterstock.com
As the world warms, Antarctica's melting ice will likely reach the point of no return.
Adélie Penguins struggle to reach their nesting sites if there’s too much ice in the way.
Despite their image as cold-loving creatures, Adélie penguins could be winners from climate change.
Antarctica is vital to the planet’s climate system.
Antarctic image from www.shutterstock.com
Why should we care if the polar ice sheets melt hundreds of years in the future? Because they are vital for maintaining our current climate.
In some regions of the Arctic, polar bears will spend their entire lives on sea ice or the ocean.
Could polar bears slip into a hibernation-like state to tough out lean hunting during summers with little sea ice? Sadly, experiment suggests no.
Breaking the ice: while scientists increasingly understand why Antarctic sea ice is growing, it remains tricky to forecast.
Australian Antarctic Division
Antarctica's sea ice is changing in ways that scientists didn't predict, and is now causing headaches for Antarctic stations.
Not too hot, not too cold, but just right.
Gary Miller/Australian Antarctic Division
Emperor penguins are adapted to the bitter cold of Antarctica, but a new study reveals that during the last ice age it got too cold even for them.
In the long run all this will be gone.
Arctic sea ice melts each summer, reaching its minimum extent sometime in September, before refreezing through the winter. Over the past 35 years, the September sea ice extent has reduced by about 35…
We can’t figure it out.
For several years now climatologists have puzzled over an apparent conundrum: why is Antarctic sea ice continuing to expand, albeit at the relatively slow rate of about one to two percent per decade, while…
Antarctica has actually been protected from sea ice melt by the ozone hole.
Many people think of sunburn and skin cancer when they hear about the ozone hole. But more ultraviolet (UV) radiation isn’t the only problem. The ozone hole has also led to dramatic changes in Southern…
In 2012 and 2013 parts of New Zealand suffered the worst drought in 70 years.
Over 2012 and 2013, parts of New Zealand experienced their worst drought in nearly 70 years. Drought is the costliest climate extreme in New Zealand; the 2012-2013 event depressed the country’s GDP by…