Great When You Can Find Them, by Jeffrey T. Rasic, National Park Service

Jeffrey T. Rasic, National Park Service, is finding hearths.  Rasic spoke at the Alaska Anthropology Association Conference on March 24, 2018.  Rasic’s talk was titled Great When You Can Find Them: Case Studies in Hearth Detection Using Magnetic Survey Methods. Rasic said, “Prehistoric hearth features can yield troves of information about past human behavior, archaeological […]

April is Archaeology Month

Alaska archaeology, going back at least 14,000 years, is highlighted by these April events in Alaska for the National Park Service archaeology month. IN CONTEXT: Community-Based Archaeology April 4, 10 a.m. to noon Anchorage Museum, Reynolds Room, 625 C Street, Anchorage, AK 10 to 11 a.m.: Hear from Rick Knecht, PhD, via WebEx, about the Nunalleq archaeological […]

When Weather Attacks

Imagine you are watching an old B-movie with grand and frightening monsters attacking each other for the battle of the Pacific Ocean! It’s not what you would think of when you think about weather and climate is it? Fun Fiction and Real Facts Dr. Nicholas Bond a climatologist with the state of Washington has been […]

Alutiiq Museum Curator Explains Community Archaeology

Patrick Saltonstall, curator Alutiiq Museum, describes community archaeology in his talk at the Alaska Anthropological Association March 23, 2018. Saltonstall’s talk titled Fish Traps, Fox Farms, and Petroglyphs: The Afognak Land Survey is archaeology with locals.  Saltonstall says “Archaeology isn’t just for Archaeologists.” By Liz O’Connell, University of Alaska Anchorage

Mammoth Ivory at the Holzman Site in Interior Alaska

 Kathryn E. Krasinski at the Alaska Anthropological Association Conference in Anchorage, Alaska. Krasinski is in front of a poster titled “Pleistocene Mammoth Ivory Use at the Holzman Site in Interior Alaska.” Photos below show the uncovering of the Mammoth Ivory in 2016. by Liz O’Connell, University of Alaska Anchorage

Bond, The Blob and Better Understanding Climate Change

For a class in the journalism and communications department at the University of Alaska Anchorage, climatologist Nicholas (Nick) Bond gave a presentation on his work and, more specifically, his studies on a large mass of warm water in the Pacific Ocean, known as “The Blob.” Bond, with the University of Washington, first coined the unusual […]

The Four Letter Word for Ocean Climate Change

Washington State climatologist, Nick Bond, cemented his legacy when he described the new persistent warm ocean water as the blob. The term, coined while Bond was participating in a weekly KUOW radio segment, has appeared in media organizations all over the nation, partly because it sounds cute, but also because of its climate implications. “I […]

Anomaly in Pacific Ocean Related to West Coast Warm Weather

Something unusual happened off the West Coast in the Pacific Ocean, a warm patch of water referred to as “the blob.” Nick Bond, state climatologist for Washington and researcher for the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean, coined the term in 2014. He describes the blob as a circular area of […]

‘The Blob’ and how it affects Alaska

In the winter of 2014, a patch of ocean in the Gulf Alaska became much warmer than usual. This occurred due to a persistent area of higher than normal pressure. Over the next two years, the patch increased in size and affected the marine life around it. Nick Bond inadvertently coined the term “the blob” […]

One Weird Name Becomes a Legacy

“The Blob” is not a very scientific term. It sounds more like a child’s toy than anything. Recently, though, it has become both serious and scientific through the work of climate scientist Nick Bond. Bond, a research meteorologist at the University of Washington and that state’s official climatologist, first coined the term in 2014 while […]

Two First Place Awards from Alaska Press Club Contest

Frontier Scientists won two First Place awards at the annual Alaska Press Club Conference 2017. www.FrontierScientists.com won “Best Website,” and Frontier Scientists’ 30 minute TV program “Portraits by Clark James Mishler” broadcast on Alaska Public Media won in the “Best Culture Reporting” category. The Alaska Press Club‘s conference brought national judges for the contest competition […]

Weaving Grass Socks

Native weaving and Frontier Scientists video featured in new Arctic Museum exhibit

Long before the creation of modern furnaces or microfibers, hardy and inventive people survived Northern cold. Native crafters created clothing that was beautiful, durable and functional. Museum exhibit: “Threads of Change: Arctic Clothing and Identity in the North” opens at The Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum and Arctic Studies Center at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, on […]

Record low sea ice — dramatically small Arctic sea ice maximum in March 2017

Arctic sea ice maximum hit a record low in March 2017. Arctic sea ice covered less area than it has any other year since satellite records began in 1979. This record low is the newest in a three-year string of record low Arctic sea ice maximums. Sea ice grows and dwindles with the polar seasons. […]

Cascading Effect – Arctic Report Card 2016

“We’ve seen a year in 2016 in the Arctic like we’ve never seen before,” reported Jeremy Mathis, Director of NOAA’s Arctic Research Program. Mathis presented the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Arctic Report Card for 2016, the newest installment of an annual peer-reviewed report summarizing changing conditions in the Arctic. Mathis: “The report card this […]

New videos: Brant, carbon and climate in the Y-K Delta

In Alaska’s Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge scattered ponds and twining rivers dot the landscape. Here in the remote Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta (Y-K Delta) researchers tackle five months in the field. New Frontier Scientists videos feature their work gathering information about our shifting climate, investigating the implications of mismatched natural events. See new videos at FrontierScientists.com […]

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 […]

Climate change geese measuring carbon greenhouses gasses Yukon Delta

Carbon dioxide, geese and greenhouse gasses

“The effects of climate change are are really complex,” and “There are a number of changes that are happening together that are going to ultimately affect how ecosystems operate,” Kathy Kelsey, postdoctoral researcher at the University of Alaska Anchorage, told Frontier Scientists. Kelsey and colleagues are studying changes in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta (YKD) of western […]

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 […]

Geese mowing the climate lawn

“It’s amazing that these little two-pound birds running around the Delta can have such a large impact,” Ryan Choi told Frontier Scientists. Pacific black brandt wing their way to western Alaska every year. There, these geese are influential players in their ecosystem, impacting vegetation, carbon cycling, and greenhouse gas emissions. Ryan Choi, PhD student at […]

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 […]

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. […]

Alaska Portraits and Polar Week Film Fest

Photographer Clark James Mishler worked to perfect his portraits in the colorful state of Alaska. “If you want to talk about diversity, Alaska is the best!” Mishler said, “It’s a fabulous mash of cultures and social backgrounds.” Mishler brings you his take on photography in new video ‘Alaska Portraits.’ “I feel very fortunate that my […]

Water by the numbers in rural Alaska

22% of rural Alaska homes lack running water and a flush toilet, according to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation – Division of Water. Photographer Clark James Mishler described the difference between living in an urban Anchorage residence and living in parts of rural Alaska as stark: “It’s like living in a third world country, […]

Food security and subsistence in Alaska

About 95% of the food people in Alaska purchase is imported. “That’s a problem,” photographer Clark James Mishler told Frontier Scientists. One of his dreams is to “Help build a sustainable food system for Alaska.” Subsistence activities are one puzzle piece of a sustainable food system. Subsistence harvests in Alaska contribute to food security and […]

Cultural wealth, Point Hope subsistence and sea ice

Whale fin slices in the hands of Point Hope locals are evidence of ancient tradition. Subsistence hunting and gathering provide food and raw materials which support rural Alaskan communities. Subsistence activities make possible customs and traditions… they help define culture. A warming Arctic and associated environmental changes threaten these ways of life. Photographer Clark James […]

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. […]

Boreholes drilled deep reveal permafrost temperatures in Alaska

Metal caps protect deep holes drilled in Alaskan permafrost ground from wanderers of the human and bear varieties. Permafrost, found across the Arctic, is subsurface soil which has remained frozen for two years or more. Permafrost temperatures in Alaska are rapidly changing. Vladimir Romanovsky, professor of Geophysics at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and head […]

Special Event – August 9, Anchorage

Join Frontier Scientists at a free Special Event in Anchorage on Tuesday, August 9th. Cook Inlet volcanoes will astound, the future of polar bears will amaze and the boreal forest will surprise. Expand your Alaskan world with video and commentary by Frontier Scientists: volcanologist Game McGimsey, wildlife biologist Karyn Rode, and forest specialist Bjartmar Sveinbjörnsson. […]

Free featured science: Free game, Two broadcast programs, Free live event

Get your fingertips ready to navigate a flying quadcopter during stormy Alaska weather, catch the perfect aerial shot of rare wildlife, and uncover trails through rough Arctic sea ice. Play the Arctic UAVs game on your mobile device. The game is based on real UAV research missions executed by the Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft […]

Matcharak archaeology hunting bones butchering paleo Native subsistence Alaska

Paleo subsistence: hunting, bones, butchering at Matcharak archaeology site

“Up until the point that the Matcharak Peninsula Site was found, you could essentially fit all the identifiable materials from these Northern Archaic sites into a shoebox,” archaeologist Joe Keeney said. The Matcharak Peninsula site is “A very unique site that has such good preservation, and such high numbers” of bones. The site’s details shed […]

Matcharak II Archaeology released

Enjoy FRONTIER SCIENTISTS: SEASON 2 on Alaska Public Media KAKM–TV. From polar bears to grayling, engage in the Artic’s newest discoveries with Frontier Scientists. The series airs Wednesdays at 8pm beginning June 15th. Alaska PBS Programming is available in the state of Alaska. Episodes are scheduled 8pm Alaska time on PBS KAKM Science Wednesday. The […]

Frontier Scientists TV season 2, Science Wednesdays

FRONTIER SCIENTISTS: SEASON 2 on KAKM’s Science Wednesday Enjoy FRONTIER SCIENTISTS: SEASON 2 on Alaska Public Media KAKM–TV. From polar bears to grayling, engage in the Artic’s newest discoveries with Frontier Scientists.The series airs Wednesdays at 8pm beginning June 15th 2016. Alaska PBS Programming is available in the state of Alaska. Episodes are scheduled 8pm […]

Anchorage event “Bears of the World” 2016

If you’re in beautiful Anchorage, Alaska visit Frontier Scientists at the International Conference on Bear Research and Management. The International Association for Bear Research and Management promotes conservation of bear species based on science-based best practice. “Bears of the World” 2016 isn’t just for scientists; attend engaging public lectures and outreach events. Look for Frontier […]

Buffet for birds at Cook Inlet ice scour tracks

“This is when shorebirds are supposed to be in Mexico and Panama.” Dan Ruthrauff, wildlife biologist with USGS Alaska Science Center, researches Pribilof Rock Sandpipers (C. p. ptilocnemis). These amazing birds are unique; unlike other migratory shorebirds in the North Pacific they do not fly south for the winter. Instead they overwinter at high latitudes […]

Animal ambassador shorebirds depend on worldwide habitats

Animal ambassador shorebirds travel worldwide

“Alaska is home to many many millions of breeding shorebirds during the summertime.” Dan Ruthrauff, wildlife biologist with USGS, Alaska Science Center, said “They are all Alaska’s birds but they are shared with the world.” Video: International Bird Ambassadors Animal ambassador shorebirds travel worldwide Shorebirds perform astounding feats. The bar-tailed godwit migrates for ten days […]

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 […]

Wintering Pribilof Rock Sandpiper Science

Rock sandpipers in Alaska videos

“Typically when a bird gets any ice on their body it’s game over.” But not for rock sandpipers overwintering on the mudflats of Cook Inlet, Alaska. Watch new videos about rock sandpipers on FrontierScientists.com featuring science about avian puffballs surviving and thriving despite enduring ice on feathers and feet. Rock sandpipers in Alaska In Cook […]

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 […]

Needle morphology in the boreal forest

“We are just trying to get as much experience as we can with research, just delving into science.” Amanda Bonavia was a participant in the National Science Foundation’s program Research Experience for Undergraduates. She studied the boreal forest under the direction of Bjartmar Sveinbjornsson, professor of biological sciences and director of the Environment and Natural […]

Starving trees and the boreal forest

“There are many many factors there. And we can only make rational policy decisions if we know how the system works.” Bjartmar Sveinbjornsson is a professor of biological sciences and the director of the Environment and Natural Resources Institute at the University of Alaska Anchorage. He’s hosted two student as part of the National Science […]

Boreal Forest Growth videos released

On FrontierScientists.com, watch new videos featuring Boreal Forest Research in Alaska: ‘Why So Small?‘, ‘How Tree Needles Age‘, and ‘What Are Stomata?‘. “It isn’t just the climate impacting the vegetation but the vegetation impacting the climate,” Bjartmar Sveinbjornsson explained. “As the globe warms up are the forests going to spread and are they going to […]

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. […]

Sea otter UAV health checkup

Spying on sea otter activities lets biologists measure populations of other species in the otters’ habitat. “It’s just a lot of work to get densities of clams and marine species like that,” described wildlife biologist Daniel Monson. To get a better idea of ecosystem health, scientists can use Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) technology to take […]

Old Dogs, Alaska and the New World

When people first walked across the Bering Land Bridge thousands of years ago, dogs were by their sides, according to researchers who wrote a paper published in the journal Science. Scientists from Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles used dog DNA material — some of it unearthed by miners in interior Alaska — to conclude that […]

UAVs trail building potential sea ice maps

Trail building potential with UAV maps

“Breaking ice: it’s a community effort where a large amount of ice is leveled by the use of only hand tools,” said Eyal Saiet. Trail building off Barrow’s shore happens every spring. “It can be more than a month’s effort of breaking trail, so anything that can help breaking trail is of value.” “Sea ice […]

Sniffing The Arctic videos are released

Temperatures in the Arctic are warming twice as quickly as the global average. Globally, 2015 was the hottest year on record (reported by NOAA and NASA) and the month of January 2016 saw a new record low level for Arctic sea ice extent (reported by the NSIDC). Sea ice loss alters the solar radiation balance […]

Isotopes in the water cycle story

For the past 20 years, Dr. Jeff Welker, a Fulbright Distinguished US Arctic Chair, has been investigating the water isotope cycle in the Arctic and across all of N America. His US Network for Isotopes in Precipitation (USNIP) and his Alaska Water Isotope Network (AKWIN) are multi-site programs that quantify the means by which the […]

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 […]

kelp strand fish aquarium

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 […]

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 […]

Arctic Research with UAVs

Scientists in Alaska are exploring new research approaches using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Flying technological tools map sea ice terrain in the Chukchi Sea and spot sea otters’ prey in Kachemak Bay. Explore this groundbreaking science in new videos ‘Mapping Ice Trails By UAV’ and ‘UAV Over Otters’ at FrontierScientists.com. On #ArcticMatters Day, visitors to the […]

Play Arctic UAVs game app at Arctic Matters Day

Are you attending #ArcticMatters Day? Frontier Scientists (@FrontierSi) will be. On January 14, 2016, visit our table and try your hand at Arctic UAVs– An Alaska Game App. The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle challenge mobile game app aims to inspire interest about real science and research opportunities in Alaska. Arctic UAVs is a series of missions […]

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 […]

El Niño, atmospheric rivers and distant weather

El Nino is a natural phenomenon in which changing ocean temperatures occur alongside changes in atmospheric circulation and rainfall. It’s irregular; every 2-7 years ocean waters near the tropical Pacific cycle between warm El Nino or cold La Nina conditions. Though the tropical Pacific may seem far away, the resulting changes in ciruclation do impact […]

Nuvuk archaeological site beach

Ten science conference tidbits

FrontierScientists @FrontierSi attended the annual American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting where Earth and Space scientists share their findings December 14-18, 2015. We were pleased to present about techniques for #sharingscience; science communication is a vital part of how science fits into and benefits society. During the presentation we were joined by Nagruk Harcharek, featured in […]

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 […]

Drilling sea ice– extracting a sea ice core

Geophysicist Andy Mahoney balanced a cylinder of ice on the top of his boot for a moment as he extracted it from a drill barrel. The balancing act kept loose snow lying on top of the sea ice Mahoney stood on from attaching itself to the extracted ice’s surface. The ice core looked like art: […]

Beaufort Sea Arctic Sea Ice Field Science Coring

Standing on the Beaufort Sea – new sea ice videos

Whether from the perspective of a helicopter pilot, a research scientist, or a local whale hunter, sea ice is an impactful part of Arctic life. Visit Frontier Scientists to watch new videos: ‘Barrow Ready Waiting‘, ‘Buoys On Ice‘, ‘Standing on the Beaufort Sea‘, and ‘First Year Or Multi Year Ice‘. Geophysicist Andy Mahoney, assistant research […]

The greatest story of man and permafrost

In 1973, Elden Johnson was a young engineer with a job working on one of the most ambitious and uncertain projects in the world — an 800-mile steel pipeline that carried warm oil over frozen ground. Thirty-five years later, Johnson looked back at what he called “the greatest story ever told of man’s interaction with […]

Scraping the bottom with sea ice

“It was coming here to Barrow and going to the sea ice north of here that kept me focused on sea ice for the last 15 years,” Andy Mahoney told Frontier Scientists. Mahoney is a sea ice geophysicist and University of Alaska Fairbanks assistant research professor in geophysics. Thick sea ice Level sea ice might […]

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 […]

Inconstant sea ice

“If you’re coming to the Arctic, bring a good book.” Andy Mahoney, sea ice geophysicist and assistant research professor in geophysics, University of Alaska Fairbanks, was waiting out bad weather so he and his team could travel by helicopter over sea ice. Barrow, Alaska, the northernmost city in the United States, is surrounded by the […]

Ancient dinosaur newly discovered: Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis

Bone specimens at the University of Alaska Museum of the North once belonged to members of a newly defined dinosaur species: Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis. So far nearly 6,000 individual bones have been cataloged from a group of mostly juvenile dinosaurs of U. kuukpikensis that died on the Arctic flood plain 69 million years ago in a place […]

New videos about the Mead Archaeological Site

October 6, 2015— Frontier Scientists presents field science in the Far North in two new videos: Mead Archaeological Site, Alaska, Part 1 and Part 2. The videos feature Dr. Ben A. Potter, University of Alaska Fairbanks Associate Professor, as well as graduate students participating in excavations. Together they’re refining what we know about human history […]

Polar bears and gulls feeding on whale carcass on the Arctic coast of Alaska. A possible transition zone for disease transmission. / Courtesy USGS

Polar bears and the threat of disease

Genetic studies show that polar bears have “A relatively naïve immune system,” according to research wildlife biologist Todd Atwood, who heads the U.S. Geological Survey – Alaska Science Center Polar Bear Research Program. When polar bears are forced ashore they face new threats from disease. Polar bears, marine predators known for traversing arctic sea ice […]

The antennas of the upper-atmosphere research station near Gakona now owned by the University of Alaska. / UAF photo by Todd Paris

HAARP again open for business

Instead of falling to the dozer blade, the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program has new life. In mid-August, U.S. Air Force General Tom Masiello shook hands with UAF’s Brian Rogers and Bob McCoy, transferring the powerful upper-atmosphere research facility from the military to the university. You may have heard of HAARP. Nick Begich wrote […]

Polar bears respond to sea ice habitat loss

More polar bear videos – the cost of finding food

September 8, 2015— Frontier Scientists presents new videos Polar bear swims 400 miles and What makes a polar bear? Also, explore our new site updated with a brand new look and better features: more mobile friendly, same url at FrontierScientists.com. Anthony Pagano, research zoologist with the U.S. Geological Survey – Alaska Science Center, talks about […]

Call to act on climate at Anchorage GLACIER conference

It’s impressive when President Obama visits your home base— Anchorage. And you know something important is happening when two cabinet members, Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, top level white house officials, foreign dignitaries, Alaskan Republican senators, and rural Alaskan officials all converge. It’s CLIMATE CHANGE. The Department of […]

New website launch updates Frontier Scientists

FRONTIER SCIENTISTS is pleased to announce our new website: brand new website, same URL at FrontierScientists.com. Check it out! We’re providing a much more mobile-friendly site which will perform proper scaling on all computers, phones and tablets, with fresh layout and navigation developed in collaboration with Alpine Internet. We hope you will enjoy the new […]

Researcher alongside sedated male polar bear, NOAA archive picture / Courtesy NOAA

One year with a polar bear

“Here you are flying at about 20 knots or so; you are chasing a bear so you can get close enough to dart it. The wind is rushing in your face, and it’s 10 below zero or more.” George Durner, research zoologist with the United States Geological Survey, Alaska Science Center, told Frontier Scientists that […]

Hybrid grizzly-polar bear a curiosity

When he heard the news of a grizzly-polar bear hybrid shot in Canada’s Arctic last month, Tom Seaton thought back to an unusual polar bear hide he’d once seen at Nelson Walker’s home in Kotzebue. “He had two polar bear rugs in his house — one was a huge one, and the other was special; […]

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 […]

Sea ice is a polar bear conveyor belt

“It’s very difficult to observe polar bears directly in their environment.” “They travel widely,” George Durner, research zoologist with the United States Geological Survey Alaska Science Center, explained the bears travel “Hundreds of thousands of square kilometers in the course of the year across the sea ice environment.” To enter the polar bear world Durner […]

New videos about Polar Bears

July 21, 2015— Listen: intense noises sound when Alaska’s polar bears gather to feed at a whale bone pile. At Frontier Scientists new discoveries in the Far North unfold on your screen. In new videos Hair Reveals Diet and In the Eyes of the Polar Bear, Frontier Scientists features current polar bear research. Scientists Todd […]

Mummy ground squirrel tells of a different Alaska

One fall day in Interior Alaska, a lion stalked a ground squirrel that stood exposed on a hillside like a foot-long sandwich. The squirrel saw bending blades of grass, squeaked an alarm call, and then dived into its hole. It curled up in a grassy nest. A few months later, for reasons unknown, its heart […]

What’s on the menu, grizzly bear?

July 08 2015, 9pm in Alaska, tune in to KAKM Science Wednesdays, Alaska Public Media, for FrontierScientists’ GRIZZLIES. Wildlife biologists and Park rangers in Denali National Park & Preserve help the Park’s grizzly bear population thrive in their natural environment while promoting safe interactions between Grizzlies and visitors. Catch clips online at http://frontierscientists.com/projects/denali-bears-grizzlies/. GRIZZLIES: AIRED […]

Discerning ocean currents at current

Instruments made to measure currents tug against their moorings on the sea floor. Others bob and whirl, catching currents, winds and tides with their rectangular wings spread just under wavetops in the Bering Strait west of Alaska. Ocean water is on the move. “There’s a strong connection between the world’s ocean currents and what comes […]

Sockeye Fire Summer Solstice

June 21 2015 was this year’s Summer Solstice. But for much of Alaska the long hours of sunlight were obscured by smoke. The Sockeye Fire near Willow Alaska started Sunday and raged, burning over 7,000 acres, forcing evacuations, ravaging homes and other structures and interrupting traffic on the Parks Highway. An admirable firefighting effort involving […]

An oasis on the Seward Peninsula

On a recent ski trip across the Seward Peninsula, I followed a trail along the Pilgrim River broken by five friends. Their path led to a subarctic oasis. Beyond the blank white of frozen river was a small settlement nestled in balsam poplar trees 60 feet high. The cleared fields, old farm equipment, scattered pine […]

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. […]

App developers present Frontier Scientists app

Fairbanks, Alaska– Frontier Scientists app developers present the new Frontier Scientists app for iOS and Android devices. Use the Frontier Scientists app to explore ongoing science in Alaska and the Arctic, and enrich your Alaskan experience. What: Developers Steven Farabaugh and Aaron Andrews will introduce the Frontier Scientists app, solicit feedback and survey visitors about […]

Ice and fire and permafrost

May 20 2015, 9pm in Alaska, tune in to KAKM Science Wednesdays, Alaska Public Media, for Frontier Scientists’ CHANGING PERMAFROST. Under the tundra thawing Permafrost forms thermokarst features, causing sinkholes and landslides. Shifting climate conditions release greenhouse gases locked beneath the tundra in previously frozen ground. The episode features University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute […]

Volcanoes in visual art

May 20 2015, 9pm in Alaska, tune in to KAKM Science Wednesdays, Alaska Public Media, for Frontier Scientists’ COOK INLET VOLCANOES. Volcanologists and geologists explore volcanic activity along Cook Inlet from ancient history to modern-day, monitor volcanic activity to provide important warnings, and even take a look at volcanoes from space. The episode features USGS […]

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 […]

Impact and the Arctic

Arctic changes have global impacts. This month the United States assumes chairmanship of the Arctic Council, a forum which promotes intergovernmental cooperation in the Arctic region. The U.S. will chair the council from 2015 to 2017. In conjunction a booklet titled Arctic Matters: The Global Connection to Changes in the Arctic has been released. The […]

How thick is sea ice?

A new data set shows central Arctic Ocean sea ice thinned 65% between between 1975 and 2012. The study, authored by University of Washington Applied Physics Laboratory scientists, combined observations gathered through many means and incorporated them into a consistent format. Data came from sources including submarine-born sonar, airborne measurements, satellite imagery, and instruments moored […]

Kodiak Island grass bluff view bay

Ancient footprints on Beringia

You can see the depressions in the earth when the archaeologists point them out. Each house had a central room connected by tunnels to side rooms. Female relationships guided living arrangements: in a grandmother’s house, each of her daughters’ families would occupy one of the small side rooms. When they gathered there in rooms partially […]

water sample science Sagavanirktok River Alaska

Testing Alaska’s Sagavanirktok and Kuparuk rivers

“We are interested in studying what happens to this material as it makes its way to the ocean… The transformations that it undergoes.” Jason Dobkowski, lab manager in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan, explained his work as he crouched on treacherous muddy ground to collect water at a […]

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 […]

Hallo Bay Sunset Katmai NPS

Mercury, cod, and climate change

It’s hard to imagine stalking the shores of Alaska hunting with spear or net more than four millennia ago. Harder still to know that the people living in that already-harsh time faced an even more insidious threat than hunger or the fierce elements. New archaeological findings show elevated levels of toxic mercury in Pacific Cod […]

That dress! – interpreting colors like an Arctic ground squirrel

Two people are looking at a picture of the same dress on the same screen. When asked ‘What color is this dress?’ they might give entirely different answers. Some people see a white dress with gold trim. Others see a blue dress with black trim. Others see variations. The viral picture set people at odds […]

sled dogs Iditarod ceremonial start

Iditarod sled dogs’ fat burning capabilities

The Ceremonial Start of the 2015 Iditarod, a sled dog mushing race, will be held in Anchorage on March 7th. The Restart will be Monday, March 9th, in Fairbanks. While the race is normally run from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska, low snow conditions have forced the race route north for the second time. You can […]

Hubbard, Daanen, Darrow

New videos about Frozen Debris Lobes, geohazards

February 24 2015— Slow landslides in permafrost slide downhill on mountain slopes in the Brooks Range of Alaska. These massive frozen debris lobes are geohazards. They pose a potential threat to the Dalton Highway, Alaska’s lone road to the North Slope. There are 23 identified frozen debris lobes situated less than one mile uphill from […]

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 […]

Lake E impact breccia core

Wiggles and stacks: Paleoclimate 101

Imagine standing on the top floor of the Empire State Building. Above you, the frigid ice-capped waters of a lake in Siberia. Below you sits nearly a quarter of a mile of lake sediment resting atop impact breccia, a layer of rock formed when a meteorite slammed into Earth 3.6 million years ago. Graph wiggles […]

Arctic water sampling spring

Aufeis may mark Grayling safe spots

“Who’s eating our fish?!” Heidi Golden posed in her journalistic record of Arctic Research and Exploration studying Arctic grayling. “From the snow tracks we saw, it’s most likely a fox. Other predators in this area might include, birds, wolverine, ermine and wolves.” Golden is an aquatic ecologist and a Ph.D. candidate in the University of Connecticut, […]

Never Alone – Iñupiat storytelling with spirit

A young girl named Nuna aims carefully, flinging her bola at the shards of ice lingering in the windy sky above. The spirits answer. A crane appears: mysterious, beautiful, perhaps even sorrowful. Is it sorrowful for Nuna? I can’t say, but I know I’m entranced. Nuna is the heroine in Never Alone, a game crafted to […]

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 […]

September 2014 sea ice extent

Continued Arctic changes, 2014

During high school when the day promised heat I used to spend a minute in the morning to put sunglasses on my car. They were ‘shutter shades’, louvered sunglasses printed in bold lines on folded white cardboard meant to be spread just under the windshield. The car may not have contained power anything, a reliably […]

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 […]

Serious gaming STEM education

As another ecological disaster struck the simulated Arctic spread across our table top, every player groaned. I’d retained one sea ice card in reserve so I only had to lose one from my marine ecosystem; I tried to jostle the species that had been supported by the lost ice into other positions along still thriving […]

Defining snow, world class

Winter started out peculiarly. Many Alaskans had no snow to shovel at all. At the same time they could watch news coverage of cars buried by blizzards in the lower 48. The unusual weather conditions were a strange state of affairs for Arctic plants and animals adapted to survive and even thrive in snowy conditions. […]

Science Storytelling Workshop at AGU14

“What does this look like?” “Zombies!” one of the scientists suggested. “Right,” the cinematographer agreed. He reinforced the idea of shifting the frame to give the person on camera space for their gaze to travel – ‘Lookroom’. He’d noted before that when there’s an empty space looming behind a person’s back it creates tension. Perhaps […]

Where is Lake El’Gygytgyn? TV science special

WHERE IS LAKE EL’GYGYTGYN?  Monday, December 8th 2014, watch the FrontierScientists science special about drilling for ancient climate data by tuning in to 360 North. Watch over the air from Alaska, or watch online from anywhere in the world by visiting 360North.org at 5am UTC. This 30 minute installment features real scientists and their cutting edge work. […]

Lab fridge Arctic ground squirrels

“They do their best to approximate a sphere,” Loren Buck explained as he removed the ground squirrel from its lab-made hibernaculum. Hibernating Arctic ground squirrels can sustain a core body temperature of just -2.9°C [26.78°F]. “It’s cold… Do you want to touch it?” Buck uncurled the animal carefully. “He knows he’s being handled, it just takes a […]

Many angles to decode frozen debris lobes

“Something chewed on the casing,” Margaret Darrow explained. “Probably a bear.” Blue chips were scattered from the cracked ABS pipe. Inside the casings that protect the holes drilled in and around frozen debris lobe -A there’s non-toxic propylene glycol. Propylene glycol, this brand a clear greenish liquid, prevents freezing – helpful for scientific instruments – […]

Effective stress and FDL science

“It’s a very dynamic slope,” Margaret Darrow said, standing in front of frozen debris lobe -A. FDL-A is a slow landslide; among the frozen debris lobes documented it’s the closest to the Dalton Highway and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Although the lobes likely began their life as debris left over when Pleistocene glaciers disappeared 10 to […]

Temperamental machinery and FDL science

When the machinery mounted to the man-height pole announced “RTK initialized,” the scientists gave a cheer. It was late afternoon and the morning’s downpour had finally cleared. They were gathered in a sunny spot discussing what was still on the agenda for the day when the rover – the pole and its paramount differential GPS […]

Droughts and fish highways

“I grew up on the shores of Connecticut looking into tidal pools and wondering about the plants and animals living there: where they move to when the tide goes out, and from when the tide comes in, and why. Once I even tracked my cat out my 3rd floor window and onto the roof to […]

FrontierScientists TV Petroglyphs

The Frontier Scientists TV series is premiering October 6th!

The Frontier Scientists TV series is premiering October 6th! Frontier Scientists programs will be featured weekly on 360 North, streaming online at 360North.org and available in Alaska over the air in Anchorage and Juneau, and on GCI Cable, DirectTV, & Dish Network. Mondays at 8pm {5am UTC} Oct.6th – Dec.8th 2014, catch ten installments of […]

Arctic grayling head closeup

Grayling and the great commute

I remember vivid visuals which manage to compress something immense into the space of seconds: the cosmic force of a big bang flinging matter across the universe, Ice Age glaciers clamoring down from the north then retreating again, time-lapse footage of the tides’ rhythmic breathing. Even commuters dancing the stop-and-go of a traffic light. An […]

Arctic ground squirrel release

How to catch an Arctic ground squirrel – for science!

At Atigun River, north of the Arctic Circle, the sandy soil is run through with an interlaced network of burrows. The Arctic ground squirrels which call those burrows home have encountered something mundane to you or me, but no-doubt wondrous to them: big tasty taproots, stunningly orange. Carrots! Trapping squirrels The carrots are bait, placed […]

hibernating Arctic ground squirrel lab

The abundantly peculiar Arctic ground squirrel

They survive colder core body temperatures than any other known vertebrate, sustaining a temperature below freezing yet not becoming frozen. They emerge from hibernation with clock-like accuracy

skull and bones Denali

Beating hearts in Denali

“It never ceases to amaze me. No matter what the conditions are, what time of year it is, the place still awes me.” ~ Patricia Owen, wildlife biologist, Denali National Park & Preserve Cold nights have prompted the Denali landscape to turn colors; reds and purples are spectacular tundra accents spread across the wild vista. […]

FDL thaw slump

On the back of the beast

We’ve joined scientists atop a frozen debris lobe, a slow-moving landslide in permafrost. They say we’re ‘on the back of the beast’. In the heavy rain and among fog-shrouded mountains, the scientists are making these uphill treks to record how temperature, water pressure, and local geological properties determine the slope movement of the massive lobes. […]

Dalton Highway Trans Alaska Pipeline.

Acceleration, and age-old frozen debris lobes

Less than one mile upslope from Alaska’s Dalton Highway, there are 23 frozen debris lobes looming. Frozen debris lobes (FDLs) are something like a cross between a landslide and a glacier. They’re silty sand and gravel, stones, icy frozen soil as well as liquid water kept from freezing by the intense pressure of the slow-motion push downhill. […]

Biological clocks: Where arctic ground squirrels meet ‘social jet lag’

Arctic ground squirrels may seem like little more than a brief thrill for your dog on a hike up Flat Top, but scientists are convinced they’re worth a serious second look.

river ice Alaska

When your only highways are ice

“The first half of the trip was in the forest and the second half on the tundra. The difference that those ecosystems imposed on the snow cover was beautifully manifest,”

snowmobile journey Matthew Sturm

Matthew Sturm – insight into the Arctic

Over four decades after entering the Arctic Circle for the first time, Matthew Sturm, snow scientist and University of Alaska professor, still looks on the Arctic as a place of wonder. In Finding the Arctic (University of Alaska Press, 2012), a story of history and culture along a 2,500 mile snowmobile journey from Alaska to […]

hibernating arctic ground squirrel

Arctic ground squirrel chronobiology; Wake up, guys, my biological clock says it’s…spring?

Biology major Brady Salli spends seven days a week in the vivarium making sure UAA’s arctic ground squirrels are fed, watered and, for those that are hibernating, tucked snugly into clean cotton batting. The kicker? He has to maintain a random schedule so the animals don’t “cheat” off of him. Professor Loren Buck, Department of […]

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.

Pilgrim Hot Springs thermal

Measuring and modeling geothermal resources at Pilgrim Hot Springs

There’s a place where the perennially frozen ground of the Alaskan tundra is interrupted by 2 square miles [~ 5 km² ] of thawed soil. There, cottonwoods and thick brush grow among lazily meandering waterways. The Pilgrim Hot Springs are a pleasant symptom of the geothermal heat which warms the earth deep beneath Alaska’s Seward […]

NOAA phytoplankton samples

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 […]

Pilgrim Hot Springs

Geothermal energy in remote Alaska

Geothermal energy isn’t the first thing that springs to mind when I hear of Nome, Alaska. I think of the event the annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race commemorates: a 1925 relay of sled dog drivers and their teams who delivered diptheria serum to the stricken gold-rush town, braving blizzards. I think of the extremely […]

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.

Migration Over The Brooks Range

Even Wacky Weather doesn’t stop bird migration to Alaska. Scientists on the north side of the Brooks Range at Toolik Field Station find the birds which made it over the mountains have located their nests, indicating procreation has begun.

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.

HAARP transmitters

What is (and imminently “was”) HAARP?

Googling HAARP used to be useless, which was astonishing for someone of my generation. Even now, most results outline the conspiracy theories behind the $300,000,0000 facility in rural Alaska. Occasionally my good friend and coworker, Dr. Chris Fallen, spoke about HAARP and his experiments there.

Longspur capture bird

Stressed out? Every year migratory birds battle stress, and win

On the tundra a wire walk-in trap has been placed over seed scattered atop icy Alaskan ground. A Longspur alights nearby. It twists its head to eye the seed, hops inside then briefly flaps – unsettled by the trap door closing behind it. The Longspur settles and eyes the ground again, beginning to peck. PhD student Jesse Krause, a researcher […]

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 […]

painted box turtle lillypads

What I learned this Earth Day, 2014

Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists – In the summer I drive to my favorite of many nearby glacial lakes, a deep down-turned gumdrop of cool water ringed in lillypads. I catch painted box turtles. After a frenetic chase and what feels like too long without air I surface gasping, and marveling at each turtle’s personality. […]

Soumik Basu office

Predicting the effect of anomalous sea ice loss and increasing sea surface temperatures on global storm systems

Azara Mohammadi – To become a PhD candidate at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Soumik Basu moved from his home in Kolkata, India to a region infamous for its “below zero” weather: Interior Alaska. Basu left warm weather and his family (not to mention his mother’s cooking) because “The climate is changing, so I wanted […]

The ground changing under our feet – Thermokarsts

Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists – Jason Dobkowski stands on the shores of Wolverine Lake. His research site is located in the North Slope of Alaska, nestled near the remote foothills of the Brooks Range. “I’m here studying permafrost thaw slump which is depositing silt and material into the lake behind me. And that material, […]

snowy owl flight over snow

Snowy Owl Irruption

Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists – This winter snowy owls were on the move; unusually large numbers of the magnificent birds made their way to the Lower 48 United States. With a wing span greater than four feet and distinctive plumage, snowy owls are a glorious sight. The birds’ winter migrations normally take them to […]

Tram Powered International Tundra Experiment

Liz O’Connell for Frontier Scientists – Multiple instruments, configured along a tram-like platform, sense the tundra below and gather detailed data while traveling along a 50 meter transect.  “We are gathering measurements that we don’t know exactly how they will be used,” said Steven Oberbauer, professor of biological sciences at Florida International University. The high […]

Modeling shifting oceanscapes; a collective pursuit

Azara Mohammadi for Frontier Scientists – In 1996, Dr. Kate Hedstrom travelled to Norway to “Sit on Paul Budgell’s steps,” as she says. She went there to get a piece of code recently improved by Paul Budgell. “He promised his model and I went to Norway to get it!” says Kate. Hedstrom is an Oceanographic […]

sled dog Iceland

Iditarod sled dogs’ fat burning capabilities

Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists – “It is so instinctual to be doing what these dogs are doing…” Iditarod contestant and avid musher Mike Santos believes, “…That it really requires very little training.” Dogs love to run. Still, a musher’s challenges are daunting. Alaskan weather is fierce and unpredictable; handling logistics, supplies, the vagaries of […]

La Perouse Landslide debris 2014

68 million ton landslide in Alaska: Mount La Perouse

Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists – February 16, 2014– A roar sounded unheard somewhere in the vicinity of Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve in remote southeast Alaska. Stone and debris, long part of Mount La Perouse, suddenly bowed to gravity as one of the mountain’s near-vertical flanks collapsed.  The colossal landslide carried an estimated […]

Feeling the heat? 2013 fourth warmest year on record

Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists – The year 2013 was the fourth warmest year on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climate Data Center. 2013 tied with 2003 in NOAA’s record, which details global average temperatures all the way back to the year 1880. NOAA notes: “Including 2013, 9 of the […]

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 […]

Yukon Quest sled dogs

The Yukon Quest: a community icon in a changing environment

Azara Mohammadi for Frontier Scientists – The Yukon Quest tradition formally began in 1984 as a 1,000-mile sled dog race beginning in Alaska and ending in Canada’s Yukon Territory. The trail commemorates an historic route, dubbed the “Highway of the North,” passed down by mushers since the Arctic Gold Rush era. Prospectors, missionaries, mail carriers, […]

Julie Brigham-Grette Martin Melles

Inter-hemispheric climate coupling

Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists – Paleoclimatology is the study of past climates. One of the many ways to study paleoclimatology is to collect a 2.5 inch [6.6 centimeter] wide tube of mud from a well-situated site. It’s amazing how much we can learn of Earth’s climate past – and what those findings teach us […]

agu science storytelling workshop poster

Tips and Tools for Science Storytellers at AGU Fall Meeting

Liz O’Connell for Frontier Scientists – “Story, Story, Story,”  said Nancy Linde, NOVA producer, when asked what were the three important elements in creating the perfect NOVA.  This is good advice for journalists, videographers, and scientists who want to write an article or create a video about science. But what is STORY? A Science Storytelling […]

Lake El'gygytgyn satellite space Russia

Data from an impact crater

Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists – There’s a place in Northeast Russia where, 3.6 million years ago, a meteorite slammed into Earth. A lake filled the crater. Today, the sediment that has settled at the bottom of Lake El-gygytgyn provides a rare preserved climate record: the longest sediment core record ever collected on land in […]

surface hoar crystal snow ice

Cryoseisms and depth hoar in the January cold

Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists – Cold hit hard this month. January 6 and 7, 2014, brought startlingly frigid temperatures to southern Canada and the United States, weather that swept through the Midwest and then eastward. The U.S. National Weather Service recorded widespread subzero temperatures; on January 7th over fifty U.S. sites measured record low […]

Icebreaker Snow Dragon Arctic research

Don’t freeze up: the Arctic Ice Watch campaign

Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists – Polar waters are unpredictable. The Antarctic rescue operation currently underway illustrates that fact thoroughly; the United States Coast Guard icebreaker Polar Star is en route to rescue the Russian research ship Akademik Shokalskiy and the Chinese icebreaker Xue Long which earlier came to the aid of the beleaguered Russian […]

Alaskan tundra plants

Nitrogen’s intense impact

Nitrogen is one of the most abundant elements on Earth; nitrogen gas (N2) makes up 78% of Earth’s atmosphere. Nitrogen is also an essential element for all organisms. In order to live and grow, plants and animals need the hydrogen (H) and oxygen (O) which compose water, as well as carbon (C), nitrogen (N) and […]

A new interchange for scientific solutions to real world problems

Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists – The American Geophysical Union, a nonprofit organization of geophysicists –Earth and space scientists– has launched a new initiative to help communities solve modern-day problems. The Thriving Earth Exchange gives normal people the chance to ask pressing questions and benefit from scientific research and expertise. Communities enhance their readiness to […]

Alaska in the 2013 Arctic turmoil

Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists – “The Arctic is not like Vegas. What happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic. The major changes that we see in reduction in sea ice, reduction in spring snow cover extent, increasing vegetation that changes the radiation balance of the surface, potential changes in greenhouse gas fluxes, […]

Imnavait Creek water tracks

Snow’s journey underground

In Alaska’s North Slope snow can be called overeager. Scientists at Toolik Field Station know that —except for the second half of August— they can expect it to snow any day of the year. Even during the brief summer, fierce storm fronts sometimes bring snow that melts away in 70°F (21°C) weather the very next […]

Comet ISON STEREO solar pass

Update: Comet ISON beyond the Sun

Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists – Last Thursday, while many gathered with loved ones for Thanksgiving, a frozen ball of ice and rock was hurtling towards the Sun reaching speeds of 225 miles/second [360 kilometers/second]. A fleet of solar-observing spacecraft had their instruments aligned, and experts were on hand to watch what unfolded. We wondered […]

SOHO images Comet Ison's aproach to the sun Nov 2013

Comet ISON approaches the Sun

Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists – Our patch of universe has a visitor from afar. Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON), or Comet ISON, has astronomers across the world training telescopes and eager eyes on outer space. Don Yeomans, manager of NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office, watches for objects whose orbits come close to Earth. He says ISON […]

global deforestation 2000-2012 map

Learning our forests from space– mapping deforestation and regrowth

Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists – “Every day, Landsat satellites provide essential information for land managers and policy makers to support wise decisions about our resources and environment in the places we live and work.” (NASA) Matthew Hansen, University of Maryland, and co-author Thomas Loveland, U.S. Geological Survey, released an unprecedented record of global deforestation […]

Antarctic pancake ice

Against the odds Antarctic sea ice is growing– here’s why

“On any given day, sea ice cover in the oceans of the polar regions is about the size of the U.S.,” Thorsten Markus reminds us. He’s a research scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “Far-flung locations like the Arctic and Antarctic actually impact our temperature and climate where we live and work on a […]

cross country skiing Alaska

Trapped in a cracked snow globe

Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists – Snowball fights. Snow angels and lovely ice sculptures. You can truck across it or ski through it. Snow might be a heavy reality you shovel every day, or a glittering crystalline landscape far away. Or both. Whatever snow means to you, it means something much more complex to the […]

ice core drill

Proxy data from past climates

Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists – We can’t use time machines to go back and take the Earth’s temperature during ancient times, yet we need past records of climate data to help calculate Earth’s history, where we are now, and what our planet will look like going forward. Paleoclimatology studies ancient climates with the use […]

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 […]

Medusa Jellyfish

Be a part of Citizen Science Projects

Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists – Today there are a myriad of ways you can get involved in the scientific field. Modern technology lets us coordinate, putting brainpower and computing power to good use. Volunteer as a citizen scientists, and let’s get science done together. Public participation in scientific research lends science new tools. The […]

Frontier Scientists presents videos about Understanding Climate Change Through Archaeology

October 8 2013— You’ve seen ancient bones uncovered by archaeologists in museums, dusty and mysterious, and learned something new about the past. For a zooarchaeologist, bones will give up more secrets than most. Join Mike Etnier, zooarchaeologist at Western Washington University, as he exposes the secrets of bones. In videos “A Zooarchaeologist’s Take on Climate […]

Video submission invitation — Science Storytelling Workshop

Science Storytelling Workshop: Video-making Tips and Tools Sun., 8 Dec., 3:30 P.M. – 5:30 P.M. San Francisco Marriott Marquis – Salon 4 Video is the new tool for scientists needing to document research, explain a thesis, communicate scientific findings to the public, or just tell an interesting science story. This science storytelling workshop provides tips and tools from technology […]

Mendenhall Glacier ice cave

A forest revealed under glacial ice

Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists – Alaska’s Mendenhall Glacier is shrinking, and its retreating ice has bared the remains of an ancient forest. Preserved stumps and trunks, many still rooted and even bearing bark, sit in a gravelly mix of stone churned up by the glacier. The trees are being exposed to open air for […]

helicopter wildfire burn plant recovery

Beating the burn: tundra recovery after the 2007 Anaktuvuk River fire

Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists – “The same kind of vegetation that was there before the fire are the same ones we’re seeing in the recovery. Some plants though, like lichens, take longer.” The information comes from Syndonia Bret-Harte, a researcher studying the fire scar left after 2007’s Anaktuvuk River fire near Alaska’s Brooks Range. […]

alaska satellite map comparison

Alaska, updated — modern maps detail the 49th state

Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists – The U.S. Geological Survey’s Alaska Mapping Initiative has released more than 400 new digital topographic maps for the state of Alaska. It doesn’t stop there – the initiative will give us a clear view of Alaska, creating a complete set of more than 11,000 maps over the next 6 […]

whale watching post ice

A continent of ice on the wane

Ned Rozell for UAFGI – Despite taking up as much space as Australia, the blue-white puzzle of ice floating on the Arctic Ocean is an abstraction to the billions who have never seen it. But continued shrinkage of sea ice is changing life for many living things. A few Alaska scientists added their observations to […]

Assisted migration could help plants find a new home

Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists – Plants, evolved to move with the natural rhythms of the world, cannot keep up with the rapid pace of climate change we are facing today. Their ideal habitats are sliding north as the world heats up. Do we get our hands dirty and help move the species most at […]

White Cottongrass BLM Seeds of Success Alaska

Safeguarding plants in an uncertain climate future

Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists – On a remote island in Norway, deep within an old coal mine sealed behind blast doors, seeds sit in the cold and quiet and wait. They are an insurance against an uncertain future. Our uncertain climate future is altering habitats so swiftly that plants can’t keep up, and we’re […]

Orbital dynamics and climate

Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists – Cyclical changes in the way the Earth circumnavigates the Sun can influence Earth’s climate. Last week, we looked at Milankovitch’s assessments of orbital dynamics, including: orbital eccentricity, Earth’s tilt or obliquity, and the precession or change in orientation of the Earth’s axis of rotation which determines what direction each […]

orbital variance seasons

Earth’s orbital dynamics

In the 1930s, Serbian mathematician Milutin Milankovitch theorized that slow changes in the way the Earth moves through space about the Sun could have influenced our planet’s climate past. The Earth has experienced a string of ice ages in the past, interrupted by shorter, warmer, interglacial periods. How –and how much– have the Earths’ orbital […]

forest fire wildfire trees

Wildfires across our hot planet

Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists – Wildfires are a hungry, terrible and complex force which we’ve long struggled to live alongside. Smoke and particulate matter from wildfires can travel thousands of miles, lowering air quality and causing health impacts. Local fires risk lives, and fire damage costs millions or more to repair. And now, conditions […]

Cathy Cahill unmanned aerial vehicle volcanic aerosol research

Taking to the sky to better sniff the air

On a cool spring morning in the mountains of southwest Washington, 12-year old Cathy Cahill helped her dad plant scientific instruments around the base of trembling Mount St. Helens. A few days later, the volcano blew

Redoubt volcano plume

Mount Redoubt sounds off

Volcanoes are an awe-inspiring and hazardous part of our planet. And now, they’re being made to sing. Scientists are turning seismic data into audio data in order to grasp just what’s going on deep in the Earth’s crust, and better forecast future explosive eruptions.

Landsat image Lake Minicougan

Earthshots puts visually stunning Landsat data to use

Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists – Every eight days, a Landsat satellite carrying delicate sensing and scanning equipment passes high above wherever you might be on the planet. Data from Landsat mission images records changes on Earth’s surface since 1972, over the last four decades, and it’s freely available to scientists and the public. By visiting […]

NASA Seasat satellite

Looking back in time at the world’s oceans

A time capsule of satellite imagery of the earth will become available to scientists this month. On June 28, digital imagery from more than three decades ago will be released by the Alaska Satellite Facility at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, NASA’s processor and distributor for this type of data. The images reveal […]

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 […]

Baffin Bay Greenland iceberg overview

Ice restrains the floodgates

Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists – There’s a new Titanic under construction: a grandiose ocean liner, maiden voyage set for 2016. The Australian billionaire undertaking the project intends Titanic II to be a near-perfect replica of the original RMS Titanic, the ill-fated steamship which sank in 1912 after striking an iceberg. The disaster claimed over 1,500 lives. […]

zonal polar jet stream

Under pressure: Arctic trends sparking extreme weather at large

Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists In September 2012, at the end of last summer, the Arctic sea ice extent reached a record low since satellite measurements began. And, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, summer sea ice extent in the Arctic has declined roughly 40 percent in the last three decades. The […]

Dark Side of Carbon aerosols distribution

Tiny aerosol particles, big global impacts

Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists Tiny particles suspended in the air, present in the air we breathe and in the highest reaches of the atmosphere, are called aerosols. And those aerosols, though relatively short-lived, have a huge impact on global climate change. In fact, much of the atmospheric warming observed since 1976 in the Arctic, […]

BARREL balloon launch Antarctica

BARREL mission balloons fly high

Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists Balloons are far from the first things that come to mind when you hear scientific discovery, but measurements taken by a fleet of eight-story-tall balloons released earlier this year are helping scientists make new discoveries about our planet. The 20 balloons lofted into the pristine cold air above Antarctica this […]

Columbia Glacier breakup satellite 2010

Eyes on Columbia Glacier’s retreat

The Landsat mission, a joint effort between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), has been collecting data on Earth’s physical features via satellite since the 1970s. “The Landsat data record — humanity’s longest continuous record of our planet from space — has been an invaluable tool for scientists and decision-makers in […]

polar stratospheric clouds ozone creation

Ozone loss and recovery in the Arctic

Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists The ozone hole is a problem which plagues the skies above Antarctica. Yet in 2011, Arctic skies experienced the most severe ozone depletion ever measured in the north. The reasons why are now explained in a paper published in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres headed by lead author Susan E. Strahan, an atmospheric scientists […]

Cleveland Volcano air 2012

Monitoring volcanic activity at Mount Cleveland

On Saturday May 4th 2013 the Alaska Volcano Observatory detected a series of low-level explosions at Cleveland volcano. Three discrete explosions occurred at 5:00 am, 9:17 am, and 11:44 am Saturday, while subsequent less powerful rumbles on Sunday denoted an ongoing low-level eruption. The sequence of eruptions emitted ash, gas, and steam into local airspace. […]

Big booms over the northland

Ned Rozell for UAFGI – Near a small village in Russia, Marina Ivanova stepped into cross-country skis and kicked toward a hole in the snow. The meteorite specialist with the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and Vernadsky Institute in Moscow was hunting for fragments of the great Chelyabinsk Meteorite that exploded three days earlier. This […]

Gordon Dam Australia

New insights: global warming drivers in the 20th century and beyond

Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists Researchers have combed through the last 2,000 years of climate records. Their assessment affirms that a persistent long-term cooling trend concluded in the late 19th century, reversed by global warming. The study was performed by members of the “2K Network” of the International Geosphere Biosphere Program (IGBP) Past Global Changes […]

VIIRS as an Arctic Nightlight

Liz O’Connell for Frontier Scientists – During winter in the Arctic it’s “night” almost all the time, but thanks to the new Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) Day/Night Band (DNB) we no longer have to be in the dark about what’s going on with the weather.  Here is a VIIRS/DNB image of the Alaska […]

Burned Alaska may cause more burned Alaska

Ned Rozell for UAFGI – The blackened scars that Alaska fires leave on the landscape may result in more lightning, more rain in some areas just downwind of the scars, and less rain farther away, according to two scientists. Nicole Mölders and Gerhard Kramm, both of the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, […]

Plants march north

Laura Nielsen for FrontierScientists The face of the Arctic is changing as plant growth flourishes further north than before. According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), “Temperature and vegetation growth at northern latitudes now resemble those found 4 degrees to 6 degrees of latitude farther south as recently as 1982.” This change accompanies […]

Telaquana Mountains, Alaska

AAA Conference Gives Life to Ancient Stories and New Revelations

Liz O’Connell for Frontier Scientists – “Ancient ice is melting and yielding many things we haven’t seen before,” said Jeanne Schaaf, National Park Service archaeologist,  at the Alaska Archaeological Association Conference in Anchorage. Three antler arrow points, rare organic artifacts of a type not seen in the area previously, were found at two remnant ice […]

Permafrost scientist snowmachining from Alaska to Atlantic

Ned Rozell for UAFGI – Kenji Yoshikawa will soon sleep on brilliant, blue-white landscape that has never felt the imprint of his boots. Beginning on spring equinox, the permafrost scientist and a partner will attempt to drive snowmachines from Prudhoe Bay to Canada’s Baffin Island. While traveling a distance equal to Seattle to Tokyo to […]

Aniakchak volcanic caldera from above

Arctic volcanism helps date ancient archaeological sites

“By dating ash,” said Richard Vanderhoek, “An archaeological site in Alaska, can be placed on a chronostratographic timeline.” Or in other words: the chemical makeup of the ash, matched with a volcano eruption, will provide an approximate date of the site. Archaeologists worldwide have dated ancient sites

Aurora Borealis purple red blue green Arctic

After a lifetime of study, aurora still a mystery

Ned Rozell for UAFGI – Sometimes, after idling in the sky for hours as a greenish glow, the aurora catches fire, erupting toward the magnetic north pole in magnificent chaos that can last for three hours. “Substorms,” as space physicists call them, can happen two or three times each night. The man who came up […]

Algae in the changing Arctic ecosystem

Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists The Arctic hosts a complex ecosystem, sensitive to the alterations in our changing world. Algae is part of that biome, growing in strands which hang down from the edge of ice floes. New conditions have caused an explosion in the growth rate of the algae Melosira arctica, which will influence […]

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 […]

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A Walrus at the Edge of the Ice

Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists Sea ice is the foundation of an entire Arctic ecosystem. Algae flourishes where the ice is active, providing sustenance for hordes of zooplankton. Birds feed on schools of small fish sustained by the zooplankton. There are species of seabirds which live here and nowhere else, and others whose natural rhythms […]

permafrost Atlas of the Cryosphere map (NSIDC) (NASA)

Carbon in permafrost and tomorrow’s atmosphere

Carbon is the building block of life. Our knowledge of current climate change, however, has us counting how much carbon enters the atmosphere. We burn fossil fuels, adding anthropogenic (human-caused) carbon dioxide to the air. Meanwhile, natural processes also add carbon to the air. We know that methane can arise from warming lakes and oceans. Methane traps […]

Bison Bob steppe bison skull

Bison Bob a big discovery on the North Slope

As she scraped cold dirt from the remains of an extinct bison, Pam Groves wrinkled her nose at a rotten-egg smell wafting from gristle that still clung to the animal’s bones. She lifted her head to scan the horizon, wary of bears that might be attracted to the flesh of a creature that gasped its […]

Bowhead Whale fluke

Triumphs of the endangered Bowhead Whale

Each spring, wildlife biologist Craig George stands where shore-bound sea ice meets open water at Point Barrow and counts whales. Barrow Alaska is the northernmost town in the united states. The lookout point, accessed daily via snowmobile, is no more than a canvas windbreak atop a pile of ice. Warming spring temperatures thin and break […]

archaeology Alaska North Slope mesa

Climate change and the people of the mesa

Alaska was once the setting for an environmental shift so dramatic it forced people to evacuate the entire North Slope, according to Michael Kunz, an archaeologist with the Bureau of Land Management. About 10,000 years ago, a group of hunting people lived on the North Slope, the swath of mostly treeless tundra that extends north […]

Clear Sky Albedo

Dust on the sun’s mirror

Imagine yourself on a Colorado mountain slope. Bumblebees buzz happily around dwarf bluebell blossoms, and the spring sun is bright. Except not all is well. The flowers bloom a good seven hundred feet upslope of where they grew five years ago, forcing bees ever higher. Bright petal colors are faded: the flowers are past their […]

Arctic snow cover low

Dramatic report card for the Arctic in 2012

Ned Rozell for UAFGI – Northern sea ice is at its lowest extent since we’ve been able to see it from satellites. Greenland experienced its warmest summer in 170 years. Eight of 10 permafrost-monitoring sites in northern Alaska recorded their highest temperatures; the other two tied record highs. 2012 was a year of “astounding” change for much […]

Extreme Weather, Extreme Christmas Tree

Liz O’Connell for Frontier Scientists – A Ponderosa Pine grove towers over my house roof.  The 100 foot trees grow naturally and swiftly east of the Cascades in Oregon.  Before Thanksgiving, extreme winds blew over the Cascade mountain barrier and whipped around central Oregon. The night after, I checked my yard from a window—dried pine […]

Tubeworm Lamellibrachia luymesi

The oceans are our neighbors too

Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists Deep sea oceans, once believed lifeless, teem with an astounding biodiversity. Where once we knew only speculation and fishermen’s tales, we now have a body of knowledge increasing with data from remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROVs) and human-occupied submersibles like James Cameron’s Vertical Torpedo. The deep ocean, the last unexplored terrestrial […]

Moviemaker James Cameron Speaks to Scientists

Liz O’Connell for Frontier Scientists – James Cameron seamlessly merged the movie-making world with the science world in his talk at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) December annual conference in San Francisco.  While movie goers suspend disbelief as they immerse themselves into this director’s blockbuster worlds in The Abyss, Alien, Avatar, and Titanic, skeptical scientists […]

Snowmobiles snowy mountain travel

Alaska’s Ned Rozell reads in SF at Writers With Drinks

Liz O’Connell for Frontier Scientists – Who isn’t thirsty when it comes to good prose? Ongoing San Francisco’s Writers With Drinks mixes it up Saturday, December 8, 2012, at the Make-Out Room, 7:30pm. Ned Rozell, science writer from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, will read from his book Finding Mars. Rozell joins SF luminaries Amy Tan […]

Science Kids at the Exploration Station

Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists After snapping a few photos with the full-size inflatable model of the Curiosity rover, I went directly to the Discovery Dome, an inflatable planetarium. “We Choose Space!” was playing, a planetary show about human space exploration. A 360° panorama of the moon greeted me, an astronaut to one side, the […]

Adelpha eulalia Arizona sister butterfly

New UAF program draws young artists into science

Marie Thoms for UAF Cornerstone – Artists and scientists often share a common goal: making the invisible visible. Yet artistically talented students, especially girls, often shy away from scientific careers. A new four-year program led by the University of Alaska Fairbanks blends the art, biology and physics of color into a series of summer academies, […]

Guillemots, and the Edge of the Ice

Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists The Bering Sea region hosts over 90% of seabirds breeding in the continental United States. Most of those birds are hardy migrators, breeding on Alaska’s coast in the warm season and then departing south, chased away by the cold weather. One group which remains is Guillemots, a type of seabird […]

Birds Hall Island Alaska

A far-off place, all for the birds

Ned Rozell for UAFGI – HALL ISLAND — On this windy, misty August day, there are perhaps one million birds clinging to the cliffs that buttress this Bering Sea island. These seabirds, crazy-eyed and with bodies both sleek and clumsy, need solid ground for just a few months to hold their eggs. When their summer […]

ARSC Fish: CRAY Supercomputer Enables Scientific Discovery

Liz O’Connell for Frontier Scientists – Fairbanks, Alaska, November 6, 2012 – The Arctic Region Supercomputing Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks has a new CRAY Supercomputer Called FISH. As ARSC transitions from a centralized machine to a strategically upgradeable hybrid system, they advance scientific discovery. It is a large scale upgrade to benefit research. Scientists who use […]

Lamprey engraving

Scientists identify likely origins of vertebrate air breathing

Marie Thoms for UAF Cornerstone – University of Alaska Fairbanks scientists have identified what they think is the ancestral trait that allowed for the evolution of air breathing in vertebrates. They presented their research at the 42nd annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience Oct. 17 in New Orleans. “To breathe air with a lung, […]

North Polar map Stielers Handatlas

Know your land: Alaska maps

Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists – Over eight thousand historical maps of Alaska are now available to the public through the United States Geological Survey’s Historical Topographic Map Collection. The collection includes maps of Alaska crafted as long ago as 1899, maps created to commemorate Alaska’s induction into statehood in January 1959, and more. Records of […]

A Portal to Toolik Field Station

Laura Nielsen for FrontierScientists We know that the Arctic holds unique climate conditions and a complex carbon balance. Tundra fires and thawing permafrost release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, while unique ocean currents and cold waters prompt higher levels of ocean acidification. Methane emerges from sea and soil. The Arctic sea ice cover shrinks to increasingly startling extents. Plant life […]

Ocean Acidification

  Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists Will ocean acidification spell a watery grave for vital parts of marine ecosystems? Marine ecologist Jane Lubchenco, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, named ocean acidification global warming’s “equally evil twin.” * Burning fossil fuels — coal, oil, natural gas — cutting down forests and other post-industrial […]

Cray Inc. provides “Fish” for Arctic Region Supercomputing Center (ARSC).

Liz O’Connell for Frontier Scientists – Fairbanks, Alaska, October 2, 2012 – “As Alaska’s Research University UAF (University of Alaska Fairbanks) must continue to provide the best tools, ARSC is one of the most important tools available,” said Brian Rogers, Chancellor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. And the Arctic Region Supercomputing Center’s new tool […]

Alaska’s view of the new sea-ice minimum

Ned Rozell for UAFGI – As the northern end of the globe nods away from the sun at fall equinox, the amount of sea ice floating on the northern oceans is now at the lowest amount ever detected by satellites, a period that goes back to 1979. This new sea-ice minimum follows an extremely cold […]

International Polar Week and Climate Predictions in Ice

Laura Nielsen for FrontierScientists – This week is International Polar Week, September 16 – 22, 2012. The event coincides with the Fall Equinox, when 12 hours of daylight will light every location on the planet. Polar Week aims to involve the public with research going on in the Artic and Antarctic through educational activities and […]

Glaciologists help with recovery of human remains

Ned Rozell for UAFGI – It’s not often that glaciologists help with the recovery of long-lost human remains, but military officials recently enlisted Martin Truffer for that purpose. The University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute professor and graduate student Dave Podrasky came up with useful information on a Southcentral glacier that held plane wreckage and […]

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 […]

Fire is a natural part of the boreal forest ecosystem

Ned Rozell for UAFGI – With their mushroom clouds topped with cauliflower crowns, plumes from wildfire smoke are again a common sight in Interior Alaska, which — with barely a sprinkle of rain — just experienced one of the driest Mays in the 100-year written record. Though it’s a normal human reaction to think of […]

Arctic lakes getting a closer look

Ned Rozell for UAFGI – Minnesota is the Land of 10,000 Lakes, but Alaska has more than that in the great expanse of flatlands north of the Brooks Range. These ubiquitous far-north bodies of water — most of them formed by the disappearance of ancient, buried ice that dimples the landscape as it thaws — […]

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s) Fly in the Aleutians

August 14, 2012— Three videos detail the Unmanned Aircraft work from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). In March, Greg Walker, UAF’s Unmanned Aircraft Program Manager, led research in the Aleutians. Walker flies the UAVs in just about all conditions except freezing rain which would stick to delicate equipment. “We’ve regularly flown in showers, we’ve […]

Making sea ice 300 miles from the ocean

Ned Rozell for UAFGI – Marc Mueller-Stoffels unscrews the top of a glass jar and invites a visitor to smell the powder inside. A sniff evokes the image of kayaking Prince William Sound or walking a beach in Southeast. “We call it ‘Instant Ocean,’” he says, returning the lid to the jar. Mueller-Stoffels, a doctoral […]

Thermokarst Project

Survey: Abrupt permafrost thaw increases climate threat

Marie Gilbert for UAF Cornerstone – As the Arctic warms, greenhouse gases will be released from thawing permafrost faster and at significantly higher levels than previous estimates, according to survey results from 41 international scientists published in the Nov. 30 issue of the journal Nature. Permafrost thaw will release approximately the same amount of carbon […]

Alaska creatures without us

In Alan Weisman’s book, The World Without Us, the author ponders “a world from which we all suddenly vanished. Tomorrow.” In last week’s column, a few experts discussed the fate of Alaska structures if Alaskans were to disappear. This week, people who study Alaska’s wildlife donate some thought to the subject. Alaska’s lack of people […]

Journey into the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes

One hundred years after the largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century, the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes is still a moonscape of ash and volcanic rock, without a tree or shrub in sight. The valley, located on the Alaska Peninsula where the Aleutians hook on to mainland Alaska, is a silent reminder of the […]

“This is not what we expected” said Julie Brigham-Grette in video describing work at Lake El’gygytgyn

July 10, 2012– “To this point no one has much of any terrestrial record anywhere in the Arctic older than 125,000 years ago” said Julie Brigham-Grette, University of Massachusetts Amherst as she describes findings from the Lake El’gygytgyn (or Lake E) project to Office of Polar Programs Board Meeting at the National Science Foundation. Brigham-Grette […]

Dinosaurs in the Wrangell Mountains

The more Tony Fiorillo explores Alaska, the more dinosaur tracks he finds on its lonely ridgetops. The latest examples are the stone footprints of two different dinosaurs near the tiny settlement of Chisana in the Wrangell Mountains. Fiorillo, a dinosaur hunter with the Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, recently wrote of the foot […]

Geologic methane seeping from thawing cryosphere

Geologic methane is seeping through the edges of thawing permafrost and receding glaciers in Alaska and Greenland, according to a study recently published in the journal Nature Geoscience. University of Alaska Fairbanks researcher Katey Walter Anthony led the study, which, for the first time, documents the widespread occurrence of these terrestrial sources of geologic methane […]

Flying machines for the dirty, dull and dangerous

Some places in this world are just too dirty, dull or dangerous for human pilots to fly. An airspace in the latter category is anywhere near gas flares in Alask’s oil fields. With only a few seconds of warning, flames blast high in the air from a network of pipes, releasing the stress of sucking […]

Unmanned Aircraft: Arctic science & technology

Speeding over Arctic sea ice, small remote-controlled aircraft snag video footage and high-definition shots of endangered Steller Sea Lions in their natural habitat. Quiet and unobtrusive, the machines can serve as Special Op.s for researchers. Low-altitude remote sensing using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) has vast potential… and we’re only beginning to explore it. Gregory Walker, […]

Fly Scout Fly is a new video about Greg Walker’s work with unmanned vehicles in Alaska

Liz O’Connell for FrontierScientists – Fairbanks, Alaska, June , 2012– “So our job is to get it out there, get exposure to the technology, get people to understand it’s benefits and its limitations. And see how it can solve their problems.” said Greg Walker, Unmanned Aircraft Program Manager at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Impressively […]

UAVs’ eyes on Steller Sea Lions

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)   Investigate Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) with Gregory Walker, flying remote-controlled technological tools for the modern day. March 2012….Gregory Walker took two aircraft to test the viability of the unmanned aircraft to help in the Steller sea lion research conducted by the National Marine Mammal Laboratory (NMML) along the Aleutian Islands. […]

Steller’s sea lion rookeries and UAVs

Steller’s sea lion rookeries and UAVs Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) Researchers test the viability of using unmanned aircraft to help in the Steller sea lion research conducted by the National Marine Mammal Laboratory (NMML) along the Aleutian Islands. Frontiers Scientists’ Unmanned Aerial Vehicles videos explain some of the practicalities of using unmanned aircraft for this […]

Wind-aided birds on their way north

After flying northward from Chile, a whimbrel landed in late March in an alfalfa field near Mexicali, Mexico. The handsome shorebird with a long curved beak left its wintering ground in South America one week earlier and flew more than 5,000 miles. Nonstop. In one of the great migrations happening all over the world right […]

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 […]

Recovery after world’s largest tundra fire raises questions

Four summers ago, Syndonia Bret-Harte stood outside at Toolik Lake, watching a wall of smoke creep toward the research station on Alaska’s North Slope. Soon after, smoke oozed over the cluster of buildings. “It was a dense, choking fog,” Bret-Harte said. The smoke looked, smelled and tasted like what Bret-Harte has experienced at her home […]

Dig Afognak: Revealing the Past, Strengthening the Future

Play in the dirt with Dig Afognak Laura Nielsen for FrontierScientists If uncovering archaeological treasures and exploring local culture appeal to you more than simple sightseeing, you’ll want to check out the Kodiak Archipelago the next time you can make it to Alaska. The Afognak Native Corporation’s program Dig Afognak has visitors, archaeologists, and Native […]

Tools of ancient Alaskans emerge from ice

Ned Rozell for UAFGI – On a late summer evening a few years ago, a scrap of birch bark caught William Manley’s eye as he walked along the edge of an ice field in the Wrangell-St. Elias Mountains. The geologist yelled to nearby archaeologist Jim Dixon and Ruth Ann Warden of the Ahtna Heritage Foundation. […]

Attention: a Frontier Scientists free app!

Frontier Scientists’ current mobile app is different from the one listed below. Please visit our Mobile App page to download the free app! The information below is archived. Fairbanks, Alaska, April 24, 2012 – A new app created at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) makes the Frontier Scientists (FS) web site available for the […]

Alutiiq basket weavers share insight with Russian curators

Fairbanks, Alaska, April 24, 2012 – “The Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (MAE) and the Russian Ethnographic Museum in St. Petersburg Russia have the earliest collections of Kodiak baskets, grass and spruce root, in the world,” said Sven Haakanson, executive director of the Alutiiq Museum and Archaeological Repository. In 2010, Haakanson traveled with six Native […]

Memories from Lost Villages

Laura Nielsen for FrontierScientists World War II brought conflict and trial to Alaska. Unalaska, located in the Aleutian Islands, had served as a trading hub for local villages. Native people from Biorka, Kashega, and Makushin would bring goods like fox pelts and baskets via boat and hiking trail to Unalaska to trade. In June 4, […]

Alaska dune yields oldest human remains of far north

Ned Rozell for UAFGI – Last summer, archaeologist Ben Potter was supervising a group of researchers digging on an ancient sand dune above the Tanana River. Potter, who had a field camp he needed to start at another site, was anxious to get through the last day of work at the dune. Two graduate students, […]

High-performance computing resources

Supercomputers are powerful tools. Computational Science helps researchers create models which visualize and chart some of today’s most pressing problems. Scientists use Supercomputers like the average person uses their laptop. Supercomputers are an indispensable tool when to comes to understanding and solving some of today’s most pressing problems. Think weather, climate change, and the space […]

Two new videos about computational science: Modeling Climate and Designing Supercomputers.

Liz O’Connell for Frontier Scientists – Fairbanks, Alaska, April 3, 2012 – “An artist that discovers a new process or new material­– the same thing is happening in computation.  People are constantly embarking on new discoveries; that’s what gets people excited about science,” said Greg Newby, Arctic Region Supercomputing Center director at the University of […]

Bugs & Bones at the Burke Museum. At the University of Washington, Seattle

Seattle, Washington– A sticky strip of fly paper lays along the floor at the door of a tiny room.  “Step over,” says Jeff Bradley, collections Manager in mammalogy at the Burke Museum in Seattle.  A group of visiting anthropologists and archaeologists step over the sticky strip and crowd together as Bradley opens a 2 X […]

Far-north permafrost cliff is one of a kind

Ned Rozell for UAFGI – In northern Alaska, an amphitheater of frozen ground is thawing where a northern river is cutting it, exposing walls of ice. The feature, known by scientists as “yedoma,” is the largest of its kind yet found in Alaska. Jim Helmericks, who lives with his wife Teena on the mouth of the […]

My Teacher the Android Space Girl

Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists I met her in space. Ok, that’s not true. I met Cindi at the AGU Exploration Station, San Francisco, an annual free science event for families and teachers where kids can get hands-on science. I’d never met a space android girl before… what did she do up in space? What […]

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 […]

New videos about archaeology findings in Northwestern Alaska area

February 28, 2012– Bureau of Land Management archaeologist Bill Hedman cries out in amazement as he uncovers a prehistoric tool from a small hole he has dug in a treeless expanse of tundra. As the lone BLM archaeologist for 12 million acres of public land in northwestern Alaska, Hedman covers a gigantic area, nearly all […]

Space Weather Predictions

by Laura Nielsen for FrontierScientists. We know that space weather can play havok with technology. Space weather has real effects on human society, technology, and our economy. How do we ready ourselves to deal with it? This rubber chicken can help. The chicken is Camilla Corona SDO, the mascot for NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). […]

The longest non-stop migratory flight

LLiz O’Connell for Frontier Scientists – Early on Bob Gill, Research Wildlife Biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), thought Bar-tailed Godwits’ journey from Alaska to New Zealand was a non-stop flight. Faced with skepticism from his colleagues, but armed with satellite technology, Gill tagged a female Godwit he named E-7.  By tracking E-7 in […]

Space weather and your technology

Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists – We’re all attached to our cellphones. Did you know that the Sun has the potential to disrupt your service? The Sun, the Earth, and our solar system are all part of an electromagnetic system. Our star emits charged particles, radiation, plasma, and dynamic magnetic fields. As these variable particles […]

New videos about Permafrost, a blog about the Dog Mushing Weather Dance, and a video description of FLOPs

January 31, 2012– Permafrost is an underground phenomena but three new videos, with beautiful footage and photos, allow you to see permafrost with your own eyes. University of Alaska-Fairbanks scientists Vladimir Romanovsky, Sergey Marchenko, and Ronald Daanen describe permafrost in videos “It’s a Bore Hole”, “The Permafrost Tilted House” and “Permafrost Patterns”. We should get […]