News Archive

March 30, 2017
On a sunny afternoon in Nome, Jeff Oatley stepped off his fat bike. That day, for the first time since before the Super Bowl, he had nowhere to ride tomorrow. On March 7, Oatley, with his wife Heather Best (who rode a few hundred miles of choice trail with him), finished a winter bicycle ride from Skagway to Nome. Despite snowstorms that stalled him on the middle Yukon River for a few days,...
March 23, 2017
Stan Boutin has climbed more than 5,000 spruce trees in the last 30 years. He's fallen only once, and he has often returned to the forest floor knowing if a ball of twigs and moss contained newborn red squirrel pups. Over the years, those squirrels have taught Boutin and his colleagues many things, including their apparent ability to predict the future. Boutin, of the University of Alberta in...
March 16, 2017
People who study animal behavior think they may have found out why wolves hunt in packs — because ravens are such good scavengers. Scientists who watched wolves on Isle Royale in Lake Superior came up with the raven-wolf pack theory after puzzling over a question: Why do wolves hunt in large groups when a single wolf can take down a moose? To find a possible answer, John Vucetich and Rolf...
March 10, 2017
A landmark antenna at the University of Alaska Fairbanks will be removed and replaced by a similar one during spring break week in March 2017. After more than 25 years of service, the pale blue 10-meter dish on the roof of the Elvey Building will retire and will be replaced with a new 9-meter dish. The project also will replace an instrument that had not operated since hardware within the antenna...
March 9, 2017
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. You might think the mallards that did not migrate from the subarctic in fall would be skinny and weak, but a UAF graduate student found the...
March 2, 2017
In early March up on the frozen Arctic Coastal Plain, as the wind sculpts snow into drifts, it’s hard to tell northern lakes from surrounding tundra. But lurking deep beneath that flat white world are toothy predators as long as your arm. In pools 60 feet down, lake trout are somehow passing the long winter. A graduate student has sharpened the focus on a familiar species that lives as far south...
February 23, 2017
As another major rainstorm hit California in February, downtown San Francisco surpassed its normal rain total for an entire year. Reservoirs in the high country were spilling over. So ended a five-year drought in the state that some people attributed to human-caused climate change. Those pictures of dried-up California lakes bothered Syun-Ichi Akasofu, who recently gave a talk "The Forthcoming...
February 17, 2017
When they launch, the four rockets now pointed northward from Poker Flat Research Range will add to the 345 that have arced over northern Alaska during the past 48 years. Recently, Chuck Deehr remembered number one.   Deehr, 80, is a retired space physicist at the Geophysical Institute. He had just earned his doctorate in 1968 when he was among those enlisted to help with the first mission...
February 9, 2017
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.   But it could happen, according to a graduate student who has tightened the grids of computer models to perhaps offer a more detailed glimpse of Alaska's future.   A tropical night is one with a low...
February 2, 2017
Last month, villagers in Savoonga landed a bowhead whale. Before 2017, in every January people can remember, sea ice surrounded St. Lawrence Island, locking it in for the winter. Boat-launching and whale-taking were not possible.   Now, the disc of ice chunks floating on the northern oceans is smaller than any recent year except 2010. The Bering Sea west of the Alaska mainland is wide open...