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Environment Magazine September/October 2008


January-February 2018

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Confusion and Wonder at the Limits of Our Knowledge

The Arctic is a beautiful, fascinating place. It can also be frustrating and confounding, as we pursue one thread of inquiry and discover how that thread branches in many directions and disappears in knots. It is scary to think of the myriad ways Arctic climate systems and ecosystems can go off the rails. Still, there is wonder in learning that bowhead whales can live two centuries, the longest life span of any mammal on Earth. There is a fearful awe in making the connections that show how a snowstorm in New York City may have its origins in the loss of sea ice in the Chukchi Sea. And there is a certain joy in knowing that there is much yet to do to understand and to conserve a region that has for so long excited so many imaginations.


Henry P. Huntington is the Arctic Science Director for Ocean Conservancy.

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