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June 23, 2017

A restock and recharge along the pipeline’s path

A restock and recharge along the pipeline’s path

I’ve been in Alaska’s second-largest city for a few days now, resupplying for the trip north as I hike with my dog on the path of the Trans-Alaska pipeline. Three hundred fifty miles down, 450 to go.

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April 20, 2017

Tundra swans take two distinct paths to Alaska

Tundra swans take two distinct paths to Alaska

Both the East and West Coast tundra swans spend the majority of their lives migrating. Based on information from the satellite trackers, the bird I saw might have left the Central Valley of California in late January. From there, it looped across Oregon and Washington, maybe northern Utah, on its way to the prairie in Canada. Then it flew over northern British Columbia and back to Alaska.

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April 14, 2017

Pleistocene Park an experiment in adventure

Pleistocene Park an experiment in adventure

More than 700 donors believe in an attempt to recreate the ice age in Siberia. The operators of Pleistocene Park have raised more than $100,000 in a crowdfunding effort to bring bison and yaks to eastern Russia. The creators think the animals will help convert tundra to ancient grasslands that will slow global warming.

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April 7, 2017

Life returning to island destroyed by eruption

Life returning to island destroyed by eruption

Nine years after it erupted, Kasatochi Island is just beginning to resemble its neighbors.

Kasatochi is a speck in the middle of the Aleutian chain between Dutch Harbor and Adak, about 75 miles east of the latter. The volcanic island had no modern history of erupting until August 2008. In a few days that summer, the island changed from the lush green home of a quarter million seabirds to a gray pile of ash.

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March 10, 2017

Far-north mallards thriving on the edge

Far-north mallards thriving on the edge

With dogs’ breath fogging the 30-below zero air at their knees, 71 Iditarod mushers steamed their way down the frozen Chena River in Fairbanks on March 6. Upstream, just a few miles behind them, 500 ducks were surviving in a one-mile stretch of open water.

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February 10, 2017

More tropical nights in Alaska’s future?

More tropical nights in Alaska’s future?

By the end of this century, Alaskans may be enjoying tropical evening breezes for about a week each year. That’s an increase from the almost zero such nights we currently savor.

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January 19, 2017

An open letter to deep Interior cold

An open letter to deep Interior cold

But here you are, back in Fairbanks, far from the dulling effects of the (relatively) warm ocean. There’s no buffer between us and the Neptune-like top of the winter world but a mountain range, skimpy boreal forest and tundra plants covered with snow. And in you came.

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December 15, 2016

Tales of frozen water, from San Francisco

Tales of frozen water, from San Francisco

Dozens of the 22,000 scientists gathering here for the week are talking about ice, mostly about how much of it is disappearing, and how quickly that is happening.

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December 8, 2016

Daikoku dive 2: Sulfur so good

Daikoku dive 2: Sulfur so good

The first day on the job is nerve-wracking for anyone, but when you’re a multimillion dollar ROV venturing into one of the most inhospitable landscapes on the planet you’d have a pretty good excuse to feel nervous. Everything yesterday with ROV SuBastian went as smoothly as we could have hoped. We all get a quick nights rest and are back ready to go at sunrise. It’s dive two for the #hydrothermalhunt and we’re making another dive at Daikoku seamount for what may be our final visit.

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December 7, 2016

Return to Daikoku

Return to Daikoku

After two cancelled dives in the back-arc, we transit to our northern-most destination: Daikoku seamount. The winds and seas are calmer there, and it is a chance to revisit a fascinating underwater volcano. We get the confirmation we have been hoping for at 6.30am – conditions are good enough and ROV SuBastian is ready for its first dive.

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