THAW by Eli Kintisch

Several members of the Arctic PRIZE team boarded the RV Helmer Hanssen in Tromsø in the depths of winter in January 2018. They were investigating how marine organisms and ocean processes function during the Arctic winter.

Eli Kintisch, an American science journalist, sailed on the same cruise and filmed the scientists at work. From this, he has made the following excellent videos to highlight how the Arctic is changing and the work being done by scientists to understand the impacts of change on Arctic marine life.

Video #1: What melting sea ice means for life in the Arctic

This video is part of a three-part series on the changing Arctic. Thanks to the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting for supporting Thaw.

Light is flooding into the Arctic. There will be winners and losers. That’s what brought an international group of scientists to the Barents Sea to investigate how plant and animal life will adapt to the new normal.

Two key factors that govern the arctic ecosystem are rapidly changing: ice and light. The Arctic is the fastest warming place on earth, and ice that used to form on the surface of the ocean is vanishing. That’s threatening species large and small that rely on it, but it’s also created an opportunity.

Less ice means more light reaches the underwater ecosystem, benefiting the algae that anchors it as well as apex predators like whales and seals.

Video #2: How a warmer Arctic could intensify extreme weather

Is there a link between the vanishing Arctic sea ice and extreme weather? Some prominent climate researchers think so. That’s because warming temperatures in the Arctic are altering the behavior of the polar jet stream, a high-altitude river of air that drives weather patterns across the globe. As the winds that propel the jet stream weaken, storms, droughts, and extreme heat and cold move over continents at slower rates, meaning bad weather can stick around for longer.

Video #3: Why Atlantic fish are invading the Arctic

Southern species are flooding into the far north. Scientists are witnessing the upending of large parts of the Arctic ocean. As the sea ice recedes and temperatures rise, the warmer waters of the Atlantic are moving north and bringing with them new competitors that vie for the same rich resources. Journalist Eli Kintisch explores an ecosystem undergoing profound change.

Footage and story made possible by Interdependent Pictures’ documentary film, “Into the Dark,” coming 2019. (Learn more: https://www.interdependentpictures.or…)