The Last Great Race On Earth Offers Mud, Slush and Rocks But No Snow. Zip. Zero. None.
Over the last 50 years, Alaska has warmed twice as fast as the rest of the country, earning it the dubious title of Ground Zero for climate change. One instance among many of the havoc being wreaked: This year's Iditarod, the famed annual sled-dog race historically run through 1,000 miles of tundra so wild organizers have to pack down 10-foot snowdrifts to resupply racers, was "a minefield" of mud, wind and gravel, with organizers having to dump truckloads of snow at the start and finish, mushers enduring multiple crashes and injuries with many failing to finish, and so much open water on the trail at least one racer joked he should have hitched his dogs to a surfboard not sled. Startling photos bring it all home. So does a new interactive site by researchers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the Sea Ice Atlas, that tracks the devastation of a once-mighty ice pack.