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You are browsing the archive for research expedition Archives - AGU Blogosphere.

7 July 2022

A half century in a difficult, dynamic place

Dan Mann hands me a clump of orange dirt the size of an almond. He instructs me to put it in my mouth.
“What’s it taste like? Does it crunch? Ash crunches because there’s glass fragments in it.”
“It crunches.”
“It’s from Mount Edgecumbe,” he says, referring to a volcano 100 miles away, near Sitka. “From an eruption 13,000 years ago.”

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22 June 2022

Rugged science on the Southeast coast

To the woman wearing earbuds and sitting next to me in seat 7E: I’m sorry; I did not get to shower before boarding the plane after 12 days of accompanying four scientists in the hills north of Lituya Bay. I will try to keep my arms pinned to my side and lean toward the window.

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11 April 2022

Live-trapping lynx in the far north

Knut Kielland, a professor with UAF’s Department of Biology and Wildlife, used to trap lynx for their fur. Here, he has captured this 22-pound female lynx as part of an Alaska-wide project he leads to better understand the ecology of the animal.

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4 February 2022

Caribou cams give insight into secret lives

Caribou wearing cameras around their necks have filmed a secret world of mushroom nibbling, desperate head-shaking during bug episodes, and nuzzling of wet newborns seconds after they fall to the tundra.

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29 January 2021

Bowhead whales: A recent success story

Bowhead whales are true northern creatures, swimming only in cold oceans off Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Svalbard and Russia. These bus-size whales have the largest mouths in the animal kingdom, can live for 200 years and can go without eating for more than a year due to their remarkable fat reserves. Bowheads are also a rare wildlife rebound story, with the population north and west of Alaska now numbering more than 16,000. That’s up from the 1,000 or so animals Yankee whalers left behind in bloody waters at the turn of the last century.

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17 November 2020

Some good news from the thin ice

A group of researchers have found that the ocean floor around Bering Strait still seems to be capturing billions of bits of carbon that might otherwise lead to an even warmer planet.

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19 September 2020

Postcards from a formerly frozen icebreaker: Part 60 — Last Ice

We are now in open water and have left the ice behind. In the last hours we cruised through the last remnants of ice. Little chunks floating alone, their hours numbered out here in the water that is now creeping slightly above the melting point.

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18 September 2020

Postcards from a formerly frozen icebreaker: Part 59

There are many reasons to go out and recover the various assets that we’ve placed out on the ice.  And so this is now our mission with Tryoshnikov; to finish what we’ve started in the past days with Polarstern.

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17 September 2020

Postcards from a formerly frozen icebreaker: Part 58

Sometimes goodbyes are hard. Like this morning. Two ships together, then the lines are reeled in. Subtle movements and a slow parting. The railings of both vessels crowded with people, initially just a few feet apart. Waving. Photos. Crying.

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16 September 2020

Postcards from a formerly frozen icebreaker: Part 57

As with last time, it again felt like an invasion. Today, after the ships were stable alongside each other, we started having some exchange of people. An invasion of new, strange faces…. of different energy. This leg of MOSAiC is really coming to an end now.

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15 September 2020

Postcards from a formerly frozen icebreaker: Part 56

Already starting to miss this place and we are not gone yet! And standing here on the working deck, feeling a bit sentimental, looking out from the side of the ship: A mixture of open water and small chunks of ice floating around as we all sit here embedded in the diminishing ice pack. It is misty and foggy.

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27 August 2020

A bad night in a good box

Early in his career, on a wet, windy, foggy night, Guy Tytgat checked into the loneliest hotel in the Aleutians. His room was four feet wide and five feet tall, made of fiberglass, and perched on the lip of a volcanic crater.

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17 August 2020

Postcards from a (formerly) frozen icebreaker: Part 55

Our days lately have been strange. Searching around the ice in dense fog. It’s so hard to see anything, and especially some of these small buoys we’ve been hunting. But today was a beautiful day. Bluebird conditions again. And it started out with a great bear.

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16 August 2020

Postcards from a (formerly) frozen icebreaker: Part 54

With the rapid decline of the MOSAiC floe in its last days, I became increasingly concerned about the stability of the L2 site and our flux sled there. A few weeks ago it was 7 nautical miles away, then over a couple days this ballooned up to 45 nautical miles.

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14 August 2020

White killer whale spotted in Southeast

“There was a collective gasp from everybody on the bow,” Hayes said. They continued to watch the white orca swim with its pod — a family group including three or four others, their color a typical dairy-cow black-and-white. Having studied killer whales during her undergraduate work in British Columbia, Hayes knew they were witnessing something special. “There have only been about eight white killer whales ever recorded in the world,” she said…

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Postcards from a (formerly) frozen icebreaker: Part 52

The decision to pull things back on board was a good one, as the floe is becoming increasingly unstable. I felt the movement myself as I jumped from one chunk to the next. We can no longer operate or realistically move equipment on the ice any more.

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13 August 2020

Postcards from a (formerly) frozen icebreaker: Part 51

Wow? The end of an era. This highly successful relationship we’ve had with the MOSAiC ice floe is now starting to come to an end. It feels strange to me. I’ve actually been in a pretty bad mood because of it. Done too soon.

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12 August 2020

Postcards from a (formerly) frozen icebreaker: Part 50

Captain Wunderlich asked if he could join me on the ice today… perhaps to get some fresh air. So he joined Jackson Osborn and me on our daily walk-about around to our different stations. I decided to show him some of the other great areas on our floe as well. For me, the central part of the Fortress, now the desert scene, is the greatest place to go.

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11 August 2020

Postcards from a (formerly) frozen icebreaker: Part 49

On the far side of the floe is a chunk of old ice, riddled with stones everywhere. I have no idea how there could be so many embedded in the ice. Then the transect loops back around to the First Year Ice side, where the ice is generally thinner and the coastline has eroded significantly over time leading to an ever-evolving interface with the open water. On that side there are some fantastic drainage channels…. Basically rivers that drain a complex network of ponds further inland.

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10 August 2020

Postcards from a (formerly) frozen icebreaker: Part 48

Strange ice crystal formations everywhere, glistening in the sun. Standing there and looking out across the surface I felt like I was in the slickrock of the Utah desert. They have similarly eroded and curved surfaces, with layers and sculptured forms that only nature can create.

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