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 […]

An early October sunrise over Yukon Flats north of Circle. / Photo by Ned Rozell

Pondering the infinite in Yukon Flats

YUKON FLATS — Out here, in a smooth plain stretching over Alaska’s wrinkled face, water and tree and mud dissolve to fuzz at each horizon. No hills or bumps. An ocean of sky. An observer once said Yukon Flats looks like a place where God forgot to put something. Garrett Jones and I are camped […]

Kids from the village of Chevak who were part of a bird-banding crew at Old Chevak in August 1988. This photo is a part of a yearbook compiled by biologist Craig Ely, who orchestrated the camp for 25 years. / Photo by Craig Ely

Biologist creates legacy at village goose camp

When Craig Ely thumbed through his collection of photos of Alaska Native kids and biologists gathered in front of an old church, he knew he had to make a yearbook. Not for himself, though he would savor the memories, but for all the kids who had helped him do science since the 1980s. The U.S. […]

Permafrost thawing in Gates of the Arctic National Park / Courtesy National Park System

Foreseeing permafrost thaw by 2060 in Alaska

“The closer to the ocean, it seems like, the stronger the warming signal in the Arctic right now,” Vladimir Romanovsky told Frontier Scientists, and a warming Arctic leads to warming permafrost. Romanovsky, professor of Geophysics, heads the Permafrost Laboratory at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute. Alaska is edged by oceans on three sides. […]

Burned Alaska forest might be the start of a different ecosystem. / Photo by Ned Rozell.

Alaska’s wildfires and the changing boreal forest

In late July, more than 300 wildfires are burning in Alaska. With burned acreage totals one month ahead of the historic 2004 fire season, summer 2015 is again the year of the wildfire. Many scientists are not surprised. In papers written a few years ago, Alaska researchers and others suggested smoky years like this one […]

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Arctic UAVs game app

Up for a hands-on game challenge? Navigate a flying quadcopter during stormy Alaska weather, catch the perfect aerial shot of rare wildlife, and uncover trails through rough sea ice, all in the new mobile app game Arctic UAVs. Arctic UAVs is available for download now in the iTunes App Store and the Google Play Store. […]

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Seeing sea ice formation

The structure of an ice core tells a story about its life cycle; you can take a look and read it like a timeline. Geophysicist Andy Mahoney, assistant research professor in the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, extracted a sea ice core offshore from Barrow, Alaska. He described how sea ice takes form. When […]

Simulations of potential future thawing for North Slope permafrost, created by the Geophysical Institute Permafrost Laboratory. Included in this article for color reference (not detail). Photo discussed by Vladimir Romanovsky in permafrost presentation.

The future for thawing permafrost on Alaska’s North Slope

Permafrost, subsurface soil that remains frozen throughout the year, can be found on Alaska’s North Slope and in places across the Arctic. “The temperature of permafrost is rapidly changing,” said Vladimir Romanovsky, Geophysics professor and head of the Permafrost Laboratory at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute. In the very near past when Vladimir […]

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Rough but not too rough sea ice

The scientists snapped small icicles off the underside of a chunk of sea ice that had broken away from its pack and rafted up onto the edge of another ice floe. Andrew Mahoney, geophysicist and assistant research professor in the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, explained the icicles would taste incredibly salty. “It isn’t […]