I am mid-way through a trip through Arctic Svalbard, and this is the only chance I've had to log on at this latitude. Fascinating trip - and shocking. The sea ice that normally cloaks this archipelago is at the lowest extent for August that I have seen in 25 years, an ominous sign for polar bears like the one we encountered yesterday (above). Most bears here now have been forced ashore by the retreating ice, onto land that offers them nothing in terms of nourishment. I will write more when I get a chance.