Fast-growing trees like these willows pull carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while adding oxygen. / Photo by Ned Rozell

A green system of carbon-dioxide removal

Last week, I wrote about a thought experiment proposed by Fairbanks scientist Jim Beget. He suggests raining down crystals of a compound that captures carbon dioxide onto a frigid plateau in Antarctica. There, the greenhouse gas might remain locked for a few hundred thousand years. Beget will present his idea at the fall meeting of […]

Yukon Delta from space / Courtesy NASA Earth Observatory

Storm surges in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta

“Doing science in the Delta is more than just coming up with interesting questions and implementing them. It also requires a lot of on-the-ground work and pre-season preparation in order to be out here for as long as we are.” A five month field season in remote Alaska is no deterrent to Ryan Choi. “I […]

Otters impact their environment in ways that can benefit people / Photo by Randy Davis

Hovering UAVs over sea otters

“Do you want lots of kelp forests? Than you want sea otters in your system.” “A kelp forest is a forest; it’s like you’re flying through a redwood forest.” Brenda Konar, professor in marine biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, both dives and teaches divers to handle cold […]

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Sea otters defend CO2 absorbing kelp forests

The fur trade halted abruptly with the International Fur Seal Treaty of 1911, which finally forbade commercial harvesting. Hunters and trappers had run rampant during the last two centuries. The species of sea life they harvested for pelts during the 18th and 19th century were decimated: Northern fur seal populations were incredibly rare, and Sea […]

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Leftover Lunch for Microbes

A needle on lab equipment wavers as the machine tracks precise changes in carbon dioxide concentrations in a sample. Water flows through tubes. In every droplet of water there might be a million microbes swimming, feeding. It’s a zoo in there. University of Michigan researchers Dr. Collin Ward, postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Earth […]

Mountain view in Denali National Park, Alaska / Frank Kovalchek (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license)

Young mountains versus CO2

Considering that the research site was a lake 62 miles north of the Arctic Circle in northeast Siberia, Russia, I didn’t think the topic would turn to mountains. Yet I’ve found a new love for mountains. Everything is interconnected. Lake E project Lake El-gygytgyn sits in a crater that formed 3.6 million years before present […]

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The albatross and the phytoplankton

An albatross soaring over the wide open ocean doesn’t just rely on chance sightings of prey; it actually follows its nose. Dimethyl sulfide (DMS) is a biological sulfur compound that can result from the activity of microorganisms called phytoplankton. Not only does airborne DMS provide a wind-map for foraging seabirds, it also also aids in […]

happy grooming sea otter

Sea otters and kelp forests helping you

Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists – The fur trade halted abruptly with the International Fur Seal Treaty of 1911, which finally forbade commercial harvesting. Hunters and trappers had run rampant during the last two centuries. The species of sea life they harvested for pelts during the 18th and 19th century were decimated: Northern fur seal […]

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Testing the Air You Breathe

Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists. Volunteers across the world are participating in a global air sampling network run by by NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to monitor greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. This cooperative network, consisting of over 50 global locations, sends air samples weekly to a central lab in Boulder, Colorado. From […]