Photosynthesis capacity forest needles Research Experience Undergraduates

Secret lives of evergreen needles

Benjamin Russell pointed out different years of growth on a white spruce tree, using bud scars found on the back of the branch to segment off different growing seasons’ needles. “This is the new growth, the growth from this season. And see how abnormally large this is compared to the rest of the tree? That […]

Extreme heat in the North Pacific: The Blob

Water is strangely warm in parts of the North Pacific: in the Gulf of Alaska, off Southern California, and stretching across the Bering Sea. A NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center press release reported: Not since records began has the region of the North Pacific Ocean been so warm for so long. That references over a […]

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 […]

atmosphere earth interactions

Precautions amidst uncertainty

“The question is not ‘do we know everything?’ it is ‘do we know enough?’ or ‘how can we best make a decision using what we do know?’ ~ Sense About Science publication: ‘Making Sense of Uncertainty’ In cities where heat waves are already becoming more frequent or more intense, the installation of heat watch warning […]

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.

smoke layer temperature inversion

Atmospheric layers driving accelerated far North warming

Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists – Recent research published in Nature Geoscience states that the largest contributors to warming in the Arctic are the region’s distinct surface temperatures coupled with the Arctic atmosphere’s prevailing vertical temperature structure. The research suggests that diminished snow and melting ice cover, previously thought to have the largest impact on […]

Alfredo Soto holds lemming

Humble lemmings are an Arctic keystone species

Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists – Arctic temperatures are warming at twice the rate of lower latitudes’, making the area one of the most rapidly changing regions on Earth. Arctic ecosystems are facing radical alteration. And, surprisingly, a tiny furry rodent may be a major player in those changes. Lemming populations have a powerful impact on […]

Fairbanks winter day temperature smoke pollution Alaska

Alaska bucks the global temperature trend

Ned Rozell for UAFGI – This just in: 2012 was the coldest year of the new century in Fairbanks, and the second coldest here in the last 40 years. Fairbanks isn’t the only chilly place in Alaska. Average temperatures at 19 of 20 long-term National Weather Service stations displayed a cooling trend from 2000 to […]

Modeling Arctic Waters from the Bering Sea through the Bering Strait to the Arctic Ocean

Liz O’Connell for Frontier Scientists – Fairbanks, Alaska, September 4, 2012 – Three videos introduce the oceanographic modeling work from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). The video Modeling Ice in the Arctic, shows a regional ice model coupled with a global climate model.  “The ice is not as stiff as it used to be,” said Kate […]

Sunken Treasure under Lake El’gygytgyn

Deep under a frozen lake in Siberia, Russia, lies a researcher’s gold: an astounding record of past climates preserved in untouched layers of lake bed sediment. In 2009 an international team of scientists headed to Lake El’gygytgyn (pronounced El’geegitgin). They perched specialized drilling equipment atop the icy lake surface and drilled down. At the bottom […]