The latest reports from the prestigious and sober Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) make increasingly hair-raising reading, suggesting that the planet is approaching possible moments of irreversible damage in a fashion and at a speed that had not been anticipated.
The Aurora Borealis occurs when electrically charged particles from the sun (solar wind) interact with gases in Earth's atmosphere. At night, the skies have been alive with dancing green light and shooting stars.
Life at sea is a lot like middle school summer camp and it's not just the bunk beds and cafeteria style dining -- it's living with a collection of characters, working together, and learning to rely on each other.
As I stepped onto the ice with feet wrapped in wool socks and insulated boots, my friend Pete pointed to the ground and said "there's two miles of ocean below us right now." The 2 meter thick ice sheet was covered with a fresh layer of snow and felt like terra firma rather than a fluid surface.
The widespread exploitation of our natural resources coincides and is closely tied to the distress of our planet writhing under massive droughts, wildfires, glacial melting, animal die-offs and human displacement. Our general response seems to be one big shrug.
Last week, President Obama made a terribly risky decision for the Arctic. His administration cleared the final hurdle that allows for drilling into oil-bearing zones in the Arctic Ocean, approving one of Shell Oil's modified drilling permits for the Chukchi Sea.
Sea ice accumulates in the Arctic Ocean during the winter when the tilt of the Earth's axis leaves the top of the world in complete darkness. Ice coverage reaches a maximum in mid-March and can cover up to 80 percent of the Arctic Ocean.
Those who have previously crossed the Arctic Circle are considered "polar bears," and Coast Guard members with this distinction were allowed to wear special red shirts to celebrate the day, a splash of color added to their everyday navy blue uniforms.
The chemistry of the ocean has a story to tell and with each sample of seawater we reveal new pieces of information -- where the water has been, how old it is, what it has gained from the atmosphere or coast, what it has lost.