Arctic

The yet-to-be-named island was likely formed when ice bulldozed seabed mud up above the water's surface during a storm.

Scientists Discover What May Be the World's Northernmost Island

Researchers thought they had set foot on a known island, but island hunters pointed out that reported coordinates revealed a special find

An adult male woolly mammoth navigates a mountain pass 17,100 years ago.

Beyond Dinosaurs: The Secrets of Earth's Past

Woolly Mammoths Roamed Far and Wide Just Like Living Elephants

A new analysis of a mammoth tusk tracks the movements of an Ice Age icon

Permafrost covers 65 percent of Russian lands, but it’s melting fast.

Permafrost Thaw in Siberia Creates a Ticking 'Methane Bomb' of Greenhouse Gases, Scientists Warn

In 2020, temperatures in the region rose nearly 11 degrees Fahrenheit above normal, causing the limestone to release ancient methane deposits

Sourcing her fish skin from Iceland, Elisa Palomino-Perez designs, dyes and assembles her fashion accessories. Bag handmade by Jay Zaccheus.

Innovation for Good

Does Fish Skin Have a Future in Fashion?

To promote sustainability in the industry, designer Elisa Palomino-Perez is embracing the traditional Indigenous practice of crafting with fish leather

The research vessel Polarstern moves through Arctic sea ice.

New Research

Sea Ice on Arctic Coasts Is Thinner Than Previously Thought

Until recently, estimates of sea ice thickness relied on snow measurements gathered between 1954 and 1991

While this year’s Arctic sea ice extended further than last year’s, there still wasn’t as much of it as there was only two decades ago. Thinner and younger sea ice in winter and less ice in the summer are two of the many elements of the Arctic’s new reality.

Smithsonian Voices

Climate Change Redefines Meaning of Normal in the Arctic

As Earth’s climate changes, people around the world are witnessing insidious changes and responding to their new normal

This facial reconstruction envisions what HMS Erebus engineer John Gregory may have looked like.

Descendant's DNA Helps Identify Remains of Doomed Franklin Expedition Engineer

New research marks the first time scholars have confirmed the identity of bones associated with the fateful Arctic voyage

A lightning-caused wildfire in 2013 creates white smoke rising from the tundra in front of the Baird Mountains.

New Research

Climate Change Linked to Increase in Arctic Lightning Strikes

A warming climate makes Arctic lightning possible, and resulting wildfires release immense amounts of carbon from the permafrost

A study of ten narwhal tusks reveals how the animals are responding to a swiftly changing Arctic.

New Research

Study of Narwhal Tusks Reveals a Swiftly Changing Arctic

Chemical analysis of ten tusks shows shifting diets and increasing levels of mercury as climate change warms the polar region

A polar bear, dependent on sea ice for its hunting grounds, pauses near Churchill, Manitoba.

Polar Bears Live on the Edge of the Climate Change Crisis

On Hudson Bay's frigid shores, scientists track the animals to better understand how the environment is shaping their chances of survival

A stream of meltwater cuts through the Greenland ice sheet.

New Research

Earth Loses 1.2 Trillion Tons of Ice Per Year, a Nearly 60% Increase From 1994

A pair of studies paint a worrying picture of accelerating ice loss around the world, with serious consequences for projections of sea level rise

These walrus ivory carvings were collected in the mid-1880s. They were featured in a catalogue for the exhibition "Looking Both Ways: Heritage and Identity of the Alutiiq People" at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in 2003.

Smithsonian Voices

How Arctic Anthropologists Are Expanding Narratives About the North

Studying past Arctic cultures and working with today's northern communities to address present-day socioeconomic and environmental challenges

This month's book picks include Icebound, A Shot in the Moonlight and The Eagles of Heart Mountain.

Books of the Month

A Doomed Arctic Expedition, Number-Free Math and Other New Books to Read

These five January releases may have been lost in the news cycle

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is home to an abundance of wildlife such as polar bears and caribou, which the region's Indigenous communities rely on and hold sacred.

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Will Not Face Mass Oil Drilling—for Now

Large oil companies skipped out on the auction, but environmentalists say a worrisome precedent has been set

Researchers say some of this woolly rhino's internal organs may still be preserved.

Melting Russian Permafrost Yields New Woolly Rhino Specimen

Russian researchers say this may be the best-preserved woolly rhino ever found

Researchers identified the black substance as a mixture of burnt rubber, oil and feces.

Black Smudge on Diary Page Reveals 1907 Arctic Expedition's Tragic End

New analysis suggests explorer Jørgen Brønlund spent his final hours trying—and failing—to light a petroleum burner

Pakistan, home of Deosai National Park, is one of the countries whose leaders signed the pledge to protect 30 percent of land and water.

These Conservation Stories Prove 2020 Was Not All Bad News

From the Smithsonian’s Earth Optimism team, comes a surprising list of successful efforts making a difference

The cold and isolation of the Svalbard archipelago helps preserve the Arctic World Archive's contents.

Norway Preserves 'The Scream' for Future Generations by Burying Digital Copy in Arctic Coal Mine

The Munch masterpiece joins digitized art and artifacts from more than 15 countries in the "futureproof" Arctic World Archive

The new archive tracks how 96 different species have moved across the Arctic over the last 28 years.

Arctic Wildlife Are Shifting Their Behaviors Due to Climate Change

The new, collaborative data archive tracks nearly 100 species over the last three decades

Satellite records show a 13 percent decrease in sea ice per decade since the 1980s.

Arctic Sea Ice Fails to Refreeze by Late October, Setting a New Record

At this rate, the Arctic will experience its first ice-free summer as early as 2035