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Chevron's KIC-1 post, seen in front of the Brooks Mountain Range in northern Alaska. Jonathan Rosenblum

Exposed: Chevron's Secretive Drilling Site in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

By Jonathan Rosenblum

It's the middle of the frigid, long midnight at Tapkaurak Point, a spit of gravel curling out into the Beaufort Sea off the northern coast of Alaska. Up in the middle of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the largest remaining wilderness area in the U.S., the sun set weeks ago and won't peek above the horizon until the middle of January.

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Energy

Zinke Adds Oceans to the Chopping Block

In late April, President Trump issued an executive order promoting oil and gas drilling off America's coasts—and Thursday, in response, U.S. Department of the Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke plans to unveil a five-year leasing plan that opens our oceans to dangerous development.

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Climate
Map of the jet stream and polar vortex on January 3, 2018. University of Maine Climate Change Institute

'Polar Vortex,' 'Winter Storm Grayson' and 'Bombogenesis': What Do They Mean?

By Brenda Ekwurzel

Forecasters are trotting out "polar vortex" and atypical terms like "Nor'easter bomb" and "bombogenesis." These words signal the unusual and dangerous conditions forecast for winter storm Grayson and their implications for the southeast U.S., mid-Atlantic, and eventually New England and beyond. What do they mean?

Meteorologists use the phrase bombogenesis to describe a sudden and extreme drop in barometric pressure of at least 24 millibars over 24 hours, which leads to rapid intensification of a mid-latitude cyclone. We are used to hearing about North Atlantic cyclones during summer and fall—it's the meteorological term for hurricanes—and now winter storm Grayson is drawing moisture from a similar cyclonic circulation that will bring blizzard conditions as it moves northeast just offshore of the U.S. east coast.

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Trump Watch
White House. Matthias Harbers / Flickr

17 Ways the Trump Administration Assaulted the Environment Over the Holidays

By John R. Platt

While visions of sugarplums danced in some of our heads, the Trump administration had a different vision—of a country unbound by rules that protect people, places, wildlife and the climate. Over the past two weeks, the administration has proposed or finalized changes to how the government and the industries it regulates respond to climate change, migratory birds, clean energy, pesticides and toxic chemicals. Here's a timeline:

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Animals
Polar Bear in Nunavut Canada. Andre Anita / iStock Photo

The Polar Bear, Climate Change’s Poster Child, Ignites Controversy

By Jason Bittel

Twenty years ago, polar bears made people think of Coca-Cola. Ten years ago, the bruins became the face of climate change because their melting Arctic ice habitat perfectly captured the dangers of a warming world. More recently, as a direct result of the bears' environmental poster child status, science deniers have begun using them in attempts to turn the argument for climate science on its head. But now, there's no way to talk about polar bears without talking about one particular viral video.

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The Brooks Range in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Hillebrand / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Why Americans Will Never Agree on Oil Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

By Scott L. Montgomery

After decades of bitter struggle, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) seems on the verge of being opened to the oil industry. The consensus tax bill Republicans are trying to pass retains this measure, which was added to gain the key vote of Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

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Climate
Shutterstock

Welcome to the ‘New Arctic’: The Region ‘As We Once Knew It Is No More’

By Andy Rowell

For many people in the Northern Hemisphere who celebrate Christmas, the iconic image is one of snow or a Santa Claus driving a sleigh through the snow driven by reindeer.

Depending on which version of the Santa Claus story you read, his home is in the Arctic, possibly at the North Pole. Images of snowy Santas will adorn many holiday cards sent this year.

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Climate
An entrance to the Naval Air Station Key West Truman Annex was flooded by Hurricane Ike. U.S. Navy Cmdr. Michael Kutyba / Wikimedia Commons

Climate Change Already Hampers U.S. Military Sites Around the World, Government Study Finds

The U.S. military is neglecting to plan for climate change-related risks facing hundreds of overseas facilities, according to a report released on Wednesday by the Government Accountability Office.

In addition to failing to plan for and incorporate climate change's risks into project designs, the report found that many facilities are not consistently tracking costs incurred by extreme weather. The Defense Department has identified climate change and its effects as threats to facilities, but a gap remains between determining threats and implementing solutions, the study found.

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Science
Gates of the Arctic National Park, Alaska. Plants on the Arctic tundra absorb mercury from the air, then transfer it to soil when they die. Paxson Woelber / Flickr

Mercury From Industrialized Nations Is Polluting the Arctic—Here’s How It Gets There

By Daniel Obrist

Scientists have long understood that the Arctic is affected by mercury pollution, but know less about how it happens. Remote, cold and seemingly pristine, why is such an idyllic landscape so contaminated with this highly toxic metal?

I recently returned from a two-year research project in Alaska, where I led field research into this issue alongside fellow scientists from the University of Colorado; the University of Nevada's Desert Research Institute; the University of Toulouse and the Sorbonne University in France; and the Gas Technology Institute in Illinois.

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