Arctic

Beavers can create shallow pools of water when they build dams, changing the landscape. 

Beavers Are Reshaping the Arctic Tundra. Here's Why Scientists Are Concerned

Ponds made by the large rodents are causing permafrost to thaw, releasing methane and carbon dioxide once stored in the frozen Earth

The tyrannosaur Nanuqsaurus, which lived in the Arctic, with its young. New evidence suggests dinosaurs nested in the cold, dark region.

The Top Ten Dinosaur Discoveries of 2021

The key finds and moments in a year packed with amazing stories about the terrible lizards

The Arctic is heating up twice as fast as the global average, leading to melting permafrost and raging peat fires.

United Nations Confirms Hottest Temperature Ever Recorded in the Arctic

The record-breaking heat of June 2020 rings climate change 'alarm bells,' the World Meteorological Organization warns

Frozen DNA evidence trapped in soil suggests that mammoth and wild horse populations petered out slowly, instead of vanishing quickly.

Mammoth and Horse DNA Left in Freezer Rewrite Ice Age Extinctions

New research reveals the ancient animals survived some 8,000 years later than previously thought

Four different audio recorders placed in different regions of the north-western Arctic collected eight years' worth of acoustic data, providing a sneak peek into the lives of cetaceans.

As Arctic Sea Ice Retreats, Orcas Are on the Move, Spurring Changes in the Food Chain

Acoustic recordings reveal the marine behemoths are moving into once icy areas, which causes competition for resources with other species

An increase in rainfall could create a feedback loop that leads to more warming, the study authors conclude.

The Arctic Could Be Dominated by Rain Instead of Snow Within Decades

New research suggests that the transformation may happen faster than anticipated

Researchers predict the Last Ice Area will survive the longest in a warming world—but how long the ice will last is unclear. Some estimates suggest the ice will be gone entirely by 2100.

The 'Last Ice Area' May Provide a Final Refuge for Arctic Life in a Warming World

The Arctic Ocean region may provide a sanctuary to animals who need the summertime frozen habitat for survival

Gigantic and extinct, Steller’s sea cows would have played an important role in shaping their environment.

How Steller's Sea Cows Impacted the Environment They Left Behind

A new paper explores the ways these extinct megaherbivores would have reshaped kelp forests across the North Pacific

None

Ode to an Orca

A photographer takes the plunge into forbidding waters off Norway for an extraordinary encounter with orcas

In captivity under human care, a polar bear's life expectancy is about 23 years, per AP. Polar bears rarely live past 30 years old in the wild, with most adult bears dying before they reach 25.

North America's Oldest Polar Bear Living in Captivity Dies at 36 Years Old

Snow Lilly, who died at age 36, resided at the Milwaukee County Zoo for almost 16 years after arriving there in 2005

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

loading icon