From the DNA of ancient diseases frozen in the permafrost to the relationship between global warming and the scramble to access vast oil deposits under the Arctic - in January Horizon looks at science that is taking researchers out onto the ice.
We hear from Dr Marc von Hobe, coordinator of the EU-funded RECONCILE project, which helped with the first ever detection of a hole in the ozone layer over the Arctic. He argues that more work needs to be done to control greenhouse gas emissions.
Horizon also talks to the scientists aiming to set up a European Arctic observing network in Svalbard, an island halfway between the north of Norway and the North Pole.
As the northern route opens, the melting ice will have a significant impact on the transportation of goods around the world, and the consequences are manifold, said Didier Schmitt, a scientific adviser at the European Commission.
The Nordic Orion became the first cargo ship to take the treacherous Northwest Passage from the Pacific Ocean to Europe last year, and now its Danish operators are planning more trips across the Arctic as the sea ice melts.
If no new policy measures are adopted to combat global warming, the cost of climate change in Europe could reach almost 4 % of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the European Union by the end of the century.
The big freeze in the US was part of an Arctic weather system that is being displaced more and more frequently because of global warming, European researchers believe. As it re-centres itself over the pole, it should bring colder, icier conditions back to Europe.
From Europe and Asia, 14 countries – encompassing a total of 26 institutions – have come together to set up an Arctic observatory that will combine data from the sea, the atmosphere and the ground to provide vital evidence about the rate of climate change.
Dr Marc von Hobe, from the German Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH research centre, is coordinator of the EU-funded RECONCILE project. The project contributed to the first detection in 2011 of a hole in the ozone layer over the Arctic. Dr von Hobe believes more work needs to be done to control greenhouse gas emissions.
Dumped waste, from used nappies to industrial by-products, have long wound up in landfills and can take hundreds of years to decay. In October we speak to the scientists figuring out how to keep such items in use to reduce rubbish and create a so-called circular economy. We learn about new efforts to mine industrial waste for the rare metals that go into making aircraft parts, pacemakers and bicycle gears, and find out about the culture shift needed to develop a zero-waste society. We also speak to the researchers building a biorefinery to turn soiled nappies into fertilisers and raw materials, and look at whether seaweed could become the next plastic.
The model of our universe as expanding at an accelerated rate has given rise to theoretical constructs such as dark energy and dark matter, which scientists believe could make up 95% of the universe. In September, Horizon takes a deeper look at what we really know about the expanding universe. We speak to Prof. Subir Sarkar, who believes that the Nobel-winning discovery that universe expansion acceleration could be a fluke, and the scientists who are trying to answer the question by allowing us to better measure the expansion rate. We also look at the significance of accurately measuring gravity in deep space, and what dark matter haloes can tell us about the existence of dark energy.
To avoid climate breakdown, eliminating fossil fuels is the easy part, according to Professor Johan Rockström, co-director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. He says that safeguarding biological resources such as water, soil and biodiversity will be the ultimate test of whether global warming targets can be reached.
As wind turbines become increasingly familiar sights along shorelines, developers of offshore floating platforms, which harness the powerful winds further out to sea, are seeking to establish their technologies as a major viable source of clean energy.
Climate expert says real challenge is safeguarding biological resources.
Floating wind turbines could be a clean energy game changer.
A circular economy needs new business models and reusable products, says Felipe Maya.