Open water

Headlines and shipping lanes aside, it’s becoming clearer that the Arctic Ocean of our history and lore — an ice-locked region hostile to humans (except for seal-hunting Inuit and the crews of nuclear submarines) — is transforming in summers to a place where ships may in a few decades find reliable short cuts between Asian manufacturers and distant markets, where polar bears may be fewer and thinner, where oil and gas rigs may increasingly dot the land and sea. Human-driven global warming is almost certainly playing a growing role in the region, although experts still say there are large natural fluctuations involved as well (darn, more hedges).

Andrew C. Revkin, Open Water Circling North Pole? Not Quite