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 […]

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 […]

‘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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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.

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 […]

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.

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

walrus - lone

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]