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 […]

Freeze up / Image by Ned Rozell

The freezing of Alaska

Beneath a sky of stars and hazy aurora, the heat of an October day shimmers upward. The next morning, leaves, moss and tundra plants are woven into a carpet of white frost; a skin of ice creeps over the surface of lakes. Alaska is freezing once again, responding to the planet’s nod away from the […]

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Squirrels in Arctic science

June 10 2015, 9pm in Alaska, tune in to KAKM Science Wednesdays, Alaska Public Media, for Frontier Scientists’ ARCTIC GROUND SQUIRREL feature. Ground squirrels, described as cute furballs or the perfect yuppie pet, live unusual lives in the Arctic. They survive body temperatures below freezing and use a superpowered internalized clock to stay on schedule. […]

Dobkowski sampling brown water

Tea water in Arctic rivers– carbon pathways

At the turn of the season as snow and ice melt, Alaska’s waterways open up. “This is the highest this river will be this season,” Jason Dobkowski said. “Here is this giant flush of particulate and nutrients that flow through the river. So we are trying to make sure we sample at this big flush […]

Permafrost areas are shown in lavender over light green continents. Darkest lavender represents continuous permafrost, transitioning to discontinuous then isolated permafrost coverage. / Courtesy Cindy Starr, NASA Scientific Visualization Studio

Squirrels’ role in climate change puzzle

Alaska’s North Slope is home to Arctic ground squirrels. Near the Atigun River their interlaced burrow network takes advantage of sandy soil. The burrows are so interconnected and the entrances so myriad that the scientists working there to decode Arctic ground squirrel mysteries carry a map denoting burrow entrance numbers so they can be certain […]

Where are the nests migratory bird science

Fitness for birds in warming Alaska

Jonathan Perez stands in a remote part of Alaska’s North Slope while White-Crowned Sparrows sing from surrounding shrubs and a Jaeger flies overhead, calling. Perez is listening to the bird calls, recording what species sound out and how many individuals are singing. Next to him, an automated device is attempting to do the same.

ITEX tram operation

Imaging the future of Arctic plant life

If you know where to look in the Arctic, you’ll find strange hexagons dotting the tundra beneath the enduring summer sun. Strange, scattered honeycomb chambers. The open-top hexagonal units shelter 1 or 2 square meters’ worth of tundra plants, passively raising the temperature within their fiberglass walls by 1-3°Celcius.

Alaska research insects vacuuming

Mosquito netting, vacuum power, and bug science

Vacuuming at home isn’t too edifying. How about vacuuming the Alaska tundra to snag a bag full of bugs? That’s an entirely different story. Ashley Asmus, graduate research assistant at the University of Texas at Arlington, is using a huge reverse leaf blower to collect the bugs she’ll study.

white-crowned sparrow Alaska

Thousands of kilometers north – migratory birds and a shifting world

The Arctic is blanketed in snow for 9 to 10 months of the year. Then in May or June, with the Sun shining long overhead, snow melt comes sudden. Mathew Sturm, professor of Geophysics, University of Alaska, Geophysics Institute says the world of the Arctic can go from “White to dark in a space of […]