The Arctic is particularly vulnerable to climate change, but efforts to tackle it risk alienating the people who live there.
Ice floes in the Laptev Sea, Russia.
The Laptev Sea is one of the Arctic’s biggest nurseries of new sea ice in winter, but Siberia’s record summer heat may have halted production.
Ice floe drifting in Svalbard, Norway.
Sven-Erik Arndt/Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Extreme shrinkage of summer sea ice is just the latest evidence of rapid Arctic warming – and what happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay there.
Pulverized ancient bone can provide DNA to scientists for analysis.
Xin Xu Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology
By studying the DNA of people who lived in East Asia thousands of years ago, scientists are starting to untangle how the region was populated.
The high temperatures and wildfires of 2019 were thought to have heralded a freak summer for the Arctic. Then 2020 brought worse.
The Zimovs take some permafrost depth readings.
© Charlotte Wrigley
The Zimovs want to restore the prehistoric ‘mammoth steppe’ ecosystem and see if it slows down – or even reverses – melting permafrost.
Permafrost near Norilsk, Russia.
Romzes333 / shutterstock
Climate change is thawing permafrost and increasing the risk of these accidents, and the region has fewer of the bacteria that can ‘clean up’ oil spills.
This Arctic heat wave has been unusually long-lived. The darkest reds on this map of the Arctic are areas that were more than 14 degrees Fahrenheit warmer in the spring of 2020 compared to the recent 15-year average.
Joshua Stevens/NASA Earth Observatory
The Arctic is warming about twice as fast as the planet as a whole, with serious consequences. Scientists have been warning about this for decades.
Temperature anomalies from March 19 to June 20 2020. Red colors depict areas that were hotter than average for the same period from 2003-2018; blues were colder than average.
Models have predicted for some time that with every degree of global warming, the Arctic will see double or more.
The wet and low-lying East Siberian Arctic is likely to be a major methane source in the coming decades.
Neanderthal hunting grounds in southern Siberia — the Charysh River valley, with Chagyrskaya Cave in the centre of the photo.
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Neanderthals living in a cave in southern Siberia made distinctive stone tools that can be traced to their ancestral homeland in eastern Europe — an intercontinental journey of more than 3,000 km.
Some lakes in the Arctic are expanding and others are disappearing as permafrost thaws.
This lake north of Inuvik, N.W.T., is expanding as the ice wedges (darker lines leading away from the lake) around this lake melt and the ground subsides.
Hundreds of thousands of lakes, rivers and streams in the Arctic exist only because of the permafrost that lies beneath them. The warming Arctic threatens to change that.
Smoke from wildfires in Siberia drifts east toward Canada and the U.S. on July 30, 2019.
A researcher based in Fairbanks, Alaska, links 2019’s record-breaking wildfires in far northern regions of the world to climate change, and describes what it’s like as zones near her city burn.
A stand of
Miscanthus x giganteus at the University of Illinois’s Energy Farm.
Brian Stauffer/University of Illinois
In the eastern reaches of Siberia, scientists discovered plants with exceptional cold tolerance that could be the key to sustainable bioenergy production.
Richard ‘Bert’ Roberts, Vladimir Uliyanov and Maxim Kozlikin (clockwise from top) examining sediments in the East Chamber of Denisova Cave.
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Author provided
New studies reveal when the Denisovans and their Neanderthal cousins occupied a cave in southern Siberia. It’s the only site known to have been inhabited by them and by modern humans.
Katvic / shutterstock
Plankton in the world’s oldest and deepest lake are being disrupted by exceptionally warm waters.
An artist’s impression of Siberian unicorns (
Elasmotherium) walking in the steppe grass on a cloudy day.
The loss of the Siberian unicorn shows just how vulnerable some animals can be to environmental change that can impact on their food supply.
A 20-year-old experiment is testing whether filling the Arctic tundra with animals could keep carbon trapped in the ground.
National Police Air Service
No matter how cold it is, you’re lucky you don’t live on Venus.
The Russian town of Noril’sk contains the world’s most valuable source of mined nickel.
Noril'sk mine and town, 2014.
The Noril’sk nickel deposits In Russia are unique: giant volcanic eruptions 250 million years ago released colossal amounts of nickel into the atmosphere, kickstarting the Great Dying.