Sailing The Northwest Passage in The Era of Climate Change

Famed Filmmaker Examines “Chilling” Reality of Global Warming

Arctic Journey

VIRGINIA KEY, Fla. — The conquest of the Northwest Passage, a sea route through the Arctic Ocean, winding along the northernmost coast of the Americas, has baffled and intrigued explorers for centuries. Its treacherously frigid waters represent untold beauty and unparalleled economic access as one of the only free transit routes left in the world. The Artic pack ice has long left this route impassable, but now climate change has opened up previously frozen straits to a whole new era of explorers. February 18, join the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School as it welcomes David Thoreson, explorer and Blue Water Studios photographer and filmmaker as part of its 2009 Sea Secrets lecture series. Thoreson will provide a perspective on polar exploration through his stunning photographs and tales of adventure, and share firsthand accounts on how climate change is shining new light on a mysterious northern wonder. The presentation will take place in the Rosenstiel School Auditorium, 4600 Rickenbacker Causeway, Virginia Key. The event includes a reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by the lecture at 6:00 p.m., and is free and open to the public.

His work has been featured in the Smithsonian Institution, numerous publications, books and award-winning public television documentaries. In December 2008, Thoreson’s 30-minute documentary film An Arctic Journey in a Changing World made its debut on Iowa Public Television. Following him onboard the first American sailboat to successfully navigate the frigid waters connecting the North Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the film chronicles Thoreson’s historic voyage north along the west coast of Greenland and through the Northwest Passage as he examines the implications of climate change.

A native of Okoboji, Iowa, Thoreson has traveled nationally and internationally since 1984; shot for the U.S. National Park Service; bicycled 10,000 miles solo around the U.S. and Canada; sailed 36,000 miles around the planet, including both polar regions; and crossed the Atlantic three times by sail.

The Rosenstiel School and the Ocean Research and Education Foundation co-host the roster of distinguished scientists and explorers who will speak in the 2009 Sea Secrets lecture series.  The events are designed to provide insight and information about the oceans that cover two-thirds of the planet, and much of which, are still an enigma.

Sponsored by The Lawrence J. and Florence A. De George Charitable Trust, and the Charles N. and Eleanor Knight Leigh Foundation, Sea Secrets is organized by Drs. Robert Ginsburg and Ellen Prager, and is designed for the South Florida non-scientific community.  For more information, please call 305-421-4207.

The Ocean Research and Education Foundation is a non-profit corporation focused on marine science. It organizes geological research in the Bahamas on the living counterparts of the first evidence of life on Earth some three billion years old. The Foundation also leads a Caribbean-wide assessment of the condition of coral reefs that has produced the only comprehensive regional database of corals, fish and algae ( For the past decade, the Foundation and the Rosenstiel School have collaborated to present the popular Sea Secrets lecture series, five annual events aimed at informing and inspire students and the general public on marine science.

Founded in the 1940's, the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science has grown into one of the world's premier marine and atmospheric research institutions. Offering dynamic interdisciplinary academics, the Rosenstiel School is dedicated to helping communities to better understand the planet, participating in the establishment of environmental policies, and aiding in the improvement of society and quality of life.  For more information, please visit

Media Contacts:

Barbra Gonzalez
UM Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science
Marie Guma-Diaz
UM Media Relations Office

environmental •  climate change •  global warming •  sea secrets •  lecture •  david thoreson •