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You are browsing the archive for Alaska Science Forum Archives - The Field.

September 14, 2019

Planet walk puts things in perspective

With the sun warming our backs from 93 million miles away, Pete shows me the first of 10 signs spread out along Yukon Drive, on the northwest part of the UAF campus, overlooking the flats of the Tanana River. This signpost represents the sun.

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September 5, 2019

Thermometers at work everywhere in Alaska

Every Alaskan owns at least one version of a sensitive scientific instrument: the thermometer. But what is it measuring?

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August 29, 2019

Atmospheric rivers sometimes soak Alaska

Scientists have long noted these flood-causing/wildfire-relieving “long, narrow plumes of enhanced atmospheric water vapor.” If you were to study weather maps of the entire Earth today, you would see about 11 atmospheric rivers.

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August 19, 2019

When biologists stocked Alaska with wolves

Alaska had been a state for one year in 1960 when its department of fish and game conducted a wolf-planting experiment on Coronation Island in southeast Alaska. At the time, the remote 45-square-mile island exposed to the open Pacific had a high density of blacktailed deer and no wolves.

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August 9, 2019

Northern wheatears now on remarkable journey

Birds that spent their summer next to muskoxen are now leaving Alaska to spend winter with zebras…. Wheatears are now gobbling insects in the rocky hills above Wales, Alaska. The birds will soon fly into the moist air just after sunset, maybe tonight, and cross the Bering Strait.

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August 5, 2019

Icelandic glaciologist feels a weighty responsibility

Icelanders will soon install a plaque they hope people will read, long after those who bolted it to a mountain are dead. Near a withering glacier, the sign reads: Ok (Okjökull) is the first Icelandic glacier to lose its status as a glacier.

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July 22, 2019

Dragons of summer now on the hunt

Worldwide, there are about 3,000 species of dragonfly. Thirty types live in Alaska. The largest in the state is the lake darner, a cool blue dragonfly that turns dark when the air is chilly.

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July 16, 2019

The thin line between Alaska and Canada

The boundary between Alaska and Canada is 1,538 miles long. The line is obvious in some places, such as the Yukon River valley, where crews have cut a straight line through forest on the 141st Meridian. The boundary is invisible in other areas, such as the summit of 18,008-foot Mt. St. Elias.

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July 5, 2019

Weird world of northern dinosaurs coming into focus

The mini tyrannosaur, duck-billed swamp-stompers, armor-headed planteaters and other dinosaurs found in northern Alaska hint of a story that is theirs alone. That tale is separate from the one we learned as kids, told by fossils found in Montana, Alberta, Mongolia and other more-exposed and easier-to-get-to places.

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June 28, 2019

Village move intensifying in summer 2019

The relocation of an Alaska village is happening fast this summer, after many years of planning and work. Observers say Newtok’s transition to Mertarvik is flying along because it has to — the Ninglick River bank is crumbling less than 10 yards from a Newtok home.

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