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A young polar bear (Ursus maritimus) wanders on ice, seen from the Greenpeace ship during an expedition to document the lowest sea ice level on record.
In Disko Bay, Greenland, 20-story high icebergs broken off from the Greenland Ice Sheet float into the North Atlantic, raising sea level
Many of us may never get the chance to travel to the top of the world. Yet similar to the places often unseen, the Arctic needs our help. During our most recent Arctic excursion, a crewmember called the Arctic a “big air conditioner.”That’s because the sea ice in the Arctic regulates our global climate by reflecting sunlight. That ice is melting at a rapid rate meaning the ocean absorbs the sunlight resulting in a warmer earth. This of course causes more sea ice to melt. Sounds like a vicious cycle, huh?
Not only does the Arctic work to regulate the global climate, it’s also home to a rich ecosystem and indigenous people who depend on that ecosystem. Polar bears, seals, walruses and whales are just some of the species that call the Arctic home. And it’s all in danger.
Chasing Ice Director Jeffery Orlowski shooting in Uummannaq, Greenland, Summer of 2007.
In the spring of 2005, National Geographic photographer James Balog headed to the Arctic on a tricky assignment: to capture images to help tell the story of the Earth’s changing climate. Even with a scientific upbringing, Balog had been a skeptic about climate change and a cynic about the nature of academic research. But that first trip north opened his eyes to the biggest story in human history and sparked a challenge within him that would put his career and his very well-being at risk. Continue reading
Two dead and at least 300,000 residents of New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania are without power after another powerful storm ripped through the states Thursday. Meanwhile, more than 60 percent of the U.S. battles an extreme drought threatening to raise food prices and a massive wildfire left Colorado with burn scars visible from space.
Although we’ve all experienced severe thunderstorms and stints with lack of rain, this has been a summer of extremities. Climate scientists called this most recent storm, and the one in late June that left millions of Mid-Atlantic residents without power, a derecho. This powerful storm should occur once approximately every four years. We’ve already had two within a month, both with rare severity and damage.
Although our earth is prone to natural variances, we’re witnessing more of these individual events all of which are part of a larger trend. Although extreme weather can be driven by a variety of factors, global warming has set the table for these kind of damaging weather events.
However, it’s not too late to do something before we’re completely at the mercy of dangerous elements. Greenpeace ships are deep in the Arctic seas now, collecting evidence on melting ice caps and raising awareness on the threat of Shell drilling for an inconsequential amount of oil in this critical ecosystem.
Learn more about what they’re finding and take action with us.
Are you hoping for rain in the Midwest? Are you sweating without power? Tell us your stories below and share your extreme weather pictures on our Facebook page or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.