We crested the northern rim of Alaska’s Brooks Range, and from the windows of our truck looked out across the undulating foothills toward the Arctic Ocean. Instead of seeing snow as we had in years past, we were greeted by a landscape already green with spring.
We flew by helicopter to our remote camp and shed our heavy parkas. The fish we had come to study had already disappeared downstream to spawn.
We now realize that what we saw last May was historic — the hottest May for Alaska’s North Slope during what scientists recently concluded was the hottest year on record for the earth. We also saw the future.