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January 31, 2022
Midwinter rain-on-snow a game changer
By Ned Rozell A few hours of a December day may affect living things for years to come in the middle of Alaska. On Dec. 26, more than an inch of rain fell over a wide swath of the state. Much of the backcountry of Interior Alaska now has an ice sheet beneath a foot of fluffy snow. With half of the seven-month winter yet to come, things look grim …
The porcupine’s winter in slow-motion
By Ned Rozell While running through Bicentennial Park in Anchorage, biologist Jessy Coltrane spotted a porcupine in a birch tree. On her runs on days following, she saw it again and again, in good weather and bad. Over time, she knew which Alaska creature she wanted to study. “I thought, ‘Oh my god, how does he do it? How does this animal make it through winter?’” Coltrane said years ago …
May 28, 2021
Bringing the world to a standstill
By Ned Rozell On a fine June day about 100 years ago, in a green mountain valley where the Aleutians stick to the rest of Alaska, the world fell apart. Earthquakes swayed the alders and spruce. A mountain shook, groaned, and collapsed in on itself, its former summit swallowing rock and dust until it became a giant, steaming pit. About six miles away, hot ash began spewing from the ground …
April 30, 2021
The secret life of an Alaska fish
By Ned Rozell In Alaska’s infinite waters swims a handsome, silvery fish. Until recently, we knew little about the Bering cisco, which exists only around Alaska and Siberia. Then a scientist combined his unique life experiences with modern tools to help color in the fish’s life history. Randy Brown is a fisheries biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Fairbanks. Many years before he started that career, he …
April 6, 2021
White-winged crossbills and yellow snow
By Ned Rozell While out on a springtime snow trail, I recently saw a dozen white-winged crossbills pecking at snow on the side of the trail. When I reached the spot, I saw a yellow stain from where a team of dogs had paused. Last spring, I saw a bunch of crossbills gathered near an outhouse. They were congregated at a communal pee spot in the snow. The birds were …
April 8, 2020
Virtual field trips continued: Fighting your four walls with more walls
If you’re beginning to feel like the walls are closing in, you’re not alone. I know that pictures of wide open spaces on a screen can only do so much to relieve feelings of being boxed in. In fact, they could even backfire by making you yearn all the more for wide horizons. So I’m trying a different tack this week…
April 1, 2020
Fill your field of view with views from the field
We all need a break, and it’s really hard to get one. So for the third week in a row I am diving back into the 12 years of AGU Blogosphere archives in search of field trips. Here are five more to enjoy.
March 24, 2020
It’s an even greater time to take a virtual field trip
We have more than 400 virtual field trips stockpiled in our blogs archive going back to 2008. Here are a few of our first reports from the field.