Arctic

The latest word from scientists studying the Arctic is that the polar region is warming twice as fast as the average rise on the rest of the planet. And researchers say the trend isn't letting up. That's the latest from the 2014 Arctic Report Card — a compilation of recent research from more than 60 scientists in 13 countries. The report was released Wednesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Maria Coryell-Martin

Two Seattle-based adventurers — one a scientist, the other an artist — are on an expedition to study and document narwhals in Arctic waters off the west coast of Greenland. 

Borge Ousland: Adventures In Polar Exploration

Feb 25, 2013
South Pole
Flickr Photo/Eli Duke

Global warming and melting ice are rapidly changing the landscape of the Earth's polar regions. What will it mean for life at the poles, and for the rest of the world? Norwegian explorer Borge Ousland has seen this environmental transformation for himself. He’s the first person to complete solo expeditions across both the North and South Poles. In 2010, he completed the Northern Passage – a circumnavigation of the entire Arctic ocean. He joins us to talk about his adventures in the vast, frozen tundra of the poles.

T.J. Guiton

The Arctic Challenger left Puget Sound's Bellingham Bay Wednesday night and arrived at a deep-water anchorage near Anacortes, Wash., Thursday morning. The barge is part of Shell Oil’s fleet of vessels aimed at exploring the Arctic Ocean for oil.

The Arctic Challenger’s oil-spill containment system failed its first field test off Anacortes in September. Since then, Shell has rebuilt a 20-foot oil-containment dome that was “crushed like a beer can” in the first test.

Damaged oil-spill containment dome
BSEE (via KUOW FOIA request)

UPDATE on Congressional interest in this story here.

Shell Oil has been building and testing equipment designed for the Arctic Ocean here in Puget Sound. In September, a key test of underwater oil-spill equipment was a spectacular failure.