- Five countries that border the Arctic Ocean are claiming rights to large, overlapping sections of the seafloor. Three say the North Pole is theirs. Diplomats could slowly work out boundaries based on geologic evidence unless rising geopolitical tension makes the science moot.
- Arctic landscapes and seascapes are changing dramatically. Rising air and water temperatures, shrinking ice and thawing permafrost are causing all kinds of living things—from algae and trees to fish and caribou—to expand their range, change migrations or, in some cases, struggle to survive.
- Russia is expanding its Arctic military presence, while NATO holds large Arctic exercises, signs that aggression could mount. Yet conflict is not necessarily inevitable: countries may decide they have more to gain by cooperatively developing the changing region.
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The five coastal countries will have to rectify their science and their politics.
More than two million square kilometers are being carved up, leaving little for the rest of the world.
Climate change is dramatically altering life at the top of the planet.
Actions that seem provocative may actually be beneficial.
As ice retreats, countries are expanding military seaports, exploiting shipping lanes and exploring for oil and gas.