A U.S. Coast Guard crew retrieves a canister dropped by parachute in the Arctic in 2011. Over the past four decades, researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and several other universities have studied shifts in atmospheric circulation above the Arctic.
The Crystal Serenity, pictured here in Seward, Alaska, is the largest cruise ship to traverse the Northwest Passage, traveling from Alaska to New York City.
Rachel Waldholz/Alaska Public Radio
The new Russian nuclear-powered icebreaker Arktika launches in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Thursday. Russia has been modernizing its icebreaker fleet as part of its efforts to strengthen its Arctic presence.
The Margerie Glacier, one of many glaciers that make up Alaska's Glacier Bay National Park. President Obama will visit Alaska Monday to highlight the affects of climate change.
Floodwaters from rising sea levels have submerged and killed trees in Bedono village in Demak, Central Java, Indonesia. As oceans warm, they expand and erode the shore. Residents of Java's coastal villages have been hit hard by rising sea levels in recent years.
Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images
The Polar Star completes ice drills in the Arctic in July 2013. Built in the 1970s and only meant to last 30 years, the vessel is the U.S. Coast Guard's only heavy icebreaker.
U.S. Coast Guard/Reuters/Landov
Icehotel is located 120 miles above the Arctic Circle. The temperature outside is well below zero, but inside the hotel — while still, of course, below freezing — it's much warmer, hovering in the low 20s.
Pumpjacks at the Inglewood oil fields in California in March. Some of the most controversial methods of oil extraction, like fracking, oil sands production and Arctic drilling, are also expensive. That's made them less profitable as the price of oil continues to fall.
The Erebus and the Terror among icebergs, as illustrated in The Polar World by G. Hartwig in 1874. Sir John Franklin, British naval officer and arctic explorer, commanded the 1845 expedition of the ships to search for the Northwest Passage. All members of the expedition perished.
G. Hartwig/Universal History Archive/Getty Images
A scientist stands in front of an ice-rich permafrost exposure in the coastal zone of Herschel Island, Yukon Territory, Canada. Ice in the permafrost is melting, contributing to rapid erosion.
Michael Fritz/Alfred Wegener Institute