National Geographic : 2019 Sep
north of the arctic circle, our planet is covered by an implacable frozen mass—a sea, as it turns out—that humans have long struggled to explore, understand, and ultimately subdue. From our pursuit of the Arctic’s unique animals to our attempts to sail its icy passages to our obsessive quest to reach its desolate pole, we have found the Arctic irresistible and unyield- ing. Until now. Scientists say that by the middle of this century, rising temperatures could strip away the Arctic’s fortress-like ice each summer, unlocking resources and shipping lanes while increasing political tensions, affecting people and animals, and potentially speeding up climate change. We sent writers and photographers to document how this enigmatic region is chang- ing, who and what will feel the impact, and why it matters. The Carbon threat THAWING TUNDRA WILL SPEED UP WARMING WORLDWIDE. PAGE 74 The New Cold War AS THE ICE MELTS, OLD RIVALS SCRAMBLE FOR POSITION. PAGE 50 Imagine the top of the world without ice. ALONE WITH WOLVES In a 30-hour solo encounter with a wolf pack, our writer gains a new appreciation for these predators of the tundra. PAGE 116 BEFORE IT MELTS As ice and traditions disappear, Inuit use camping trips to teach their children how to live off the land—and preserve native culture. PAGE 134 EYES ON THE ICE In Greenland, researchers from around the world document the warming Arctic and share a sense of community. PAGE 104 AN ARCTIC MYSTERY A British team vanished trying to find the Northwest Passage in the 1840s. Now there are new clues to what happened. PAGE 100 It could happen sooner than you think.