News Archive

November 16, 2017
Animals the size of Labrador retrievers are changing the face of Alaska, creating new ponds visible from space.   “These guys leave a mark,” UAF ecologist Ken Tape said of North America’s largest rodents, beavers. He has observed the recent work of beavers north of Arctic Circle using satellite images. He and a group of arctic researchers have found the creatures have somehow colonized the...
September 17, 2017
MOUTH OF THE DELTA RIVER — On a morning with biting air in the single digits Fahrenheit, this river smells like sulfur and is splashy and loud. Bald eagles and ravens swoop in the updraft of a nearby rock bluff in what looks like play.   In early November, a time when shadows lengthen and deep cold hardens the landscape, chum salmon have returned to spawn in the lower Delta River. In spots...
November 2, 2017
A few Alaska researchers recently accepted a surprise assignment of giving Jerry Brown a tour of the Seward Peninsula.   The California governor was stopping in Nome on his way to a meeting in Russia. The 79-year-old environmentalist and leader of a state that resembles a progressive nation wanted to learn why the far north matters. He had never been to the Arctic or Alaska before....
October 26, 2017
In the early 1990s, Janet Collins was hiking in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge when she saw “Camp 163” labeled on her map. Intrigued, she later looked up Camp 163 in Donald Orth’s Dictionary of Alaska Place Names. Her curiosity led her to Ernest Leffingwell, the subject of a biography she has written and Washington State University Press just published.   In the early 1900s, Ernest...
October 18, 2017
The wolf tracks appeared as they always do, as a surprise.   On a day between fall and winter, with the leaves fallen and browning but the ground not yet hard, I was walking with my dog and an a.m. radio. We were descending a four-wheeler trail on a hillside 20 miles from the nearest town, Minto.   The dog was exercising its need to move after a summer of walking across the state....
October 5, 2017
Life exists everywhere you look. Even on glacier ice, home to inch-long worms, snow fleas, bacteria and algae.   When gathered by the millions on the ice, algae cells can help make the water they need to survive. Alaska scientists recently studied this living agent of glacier melt.   “If you went to a place on a glacier and scraped the algae away, about 20 percent of the melting...
September 9, 2017
Researchers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute are exploring the changing chemistry of the Arctic’s atmosphere to help answer the question of what happens as snow and ice begin to melt. The research, led by chemistry professor William R. Simpson, is concerned with the Arctic’s reactive bromine season, which is the period of time when bromine is consuming ozone, producing...
October 5, 2017
In her study of one of the farthest north lynx populations in North America this summer, Claire Montgomerie used her ears. While looking at the satellite tracker a female lynx was wearing, Montgomerie saw the animal was hanging around a hillside north of the Arctic Circle, not far from Coldfoot. The University of Alaska Fairbanks graduate student suspected the lynx might have paused in its...
October 2, 2017
The new blue antenna that sits atop the Elvey Building at the University of Alaska Fairbanks is now operational. The antenna was installed in March and replaced an antenna that had been a West Ridge landmark for the past 25 years. Staff at the Alaska Satellite Facility ground station have been testing the new 9-meter satellite dish since then. The new antenna will improve the satellite facility’s...
August 30, 2017
Building the unmanned aircraft systems industry in Alaska and the North will be the theme of the Alaska UAS Interest Group’s annual meeting in Fairbanks Sept. 13-15 at the Wedgewood Resort. There will also be an icebreaker on the 12th for registrants. The meeting will bring industry people together to learn about the latest ways to use unmanned aircraft for research, exploration, infrastructure...