You've heard the grim timelines: if warming continues, the Great Barrier Reef will be bleached by 2030; glaciers in the Swiss Alps, on Mt. Kilimanjaro, and in Glacier National Park will disappear in under 40 years; and Arctic ice melt will leave the North Pole bare and polar bears extinct.
For polar explorer Ann Daniels, the worst part of this year's expedition to the Arctic won't be enduring bitterly cold temperatures or pulling a 100-kilogram (220-pound) sledge over steep jagged ridges.
For a few suspenseful minutes on Aug. 1, complete darkness will engulf the midday sun in northern Canada, Russia, Mongolia and China. It's the next complete solar eclipse, and there's one small business owner who really, really wants to take you there.
It's 25 below outside, and the heat in the van is busted. Randy Boyer, a burly ConocoPhillips contractor in thermal coveralls, navigates the slick ice road. "This is nothing," he says, keeping his eye on the thin red line running down the center of the road. "The other week we had a whiteout, and I was stuck in my truck for 36 hours." Right now we're some 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle, and it's so white outside that the distant horizon appears to blend seamlessly into the blustery sky.