Ansel AdamsFeb. 20, 1486:  In one of the most thoughtful wedding gifts ever, the King of Norway gives the Shetland and Orkney Islands to Scotland on the occasion of the marriage of Princess Margaret of Denmark to King James II of Scotland.

Feb. 20, 1902: Ansel Adams, photographer of iconic nature scenes in the American West, is born in San Francisco.

Feb. 20, 1969: Arctic explorer Bernt Balchen warns that the Arctic ice pack is thinning, and the North Pole could be open ocean "within a decade or two."

Feb. 20, 2009: BP agrees to pay $180 million to settle pollution and safety violations at its Texas City, TX refinery, where 15 died in a 2005 explosion.

Feb. 20, 2012: Environmental scientist and researcher Peter Gleick admits obtaining internal documents from the climate-skeptic Heartland Institute by posing as a Heartland board member.  Gleick later apologizes for an ethical lapse, but Heartland begins a year-long decline based on the documents’ contents.

Photo: Paul Sakuma/AP

This feature is compiled by Peter Dykstra, an MNN contributor and publisher of Environmental Health News and The Daily Climate.