News Releases

November 18, 2013
By Ned Rozell In late August, seabird biologist John Piatt paused from his task of “stealing food from baby puffins” to look up at the green mountains of Attu, the last island in the long sweep of the Aleutians. Pasted to the side of 3,000-foot Attu Mountain was a snowfield with a dirty band of ice. Piatt, a U.S. Geological Survey Alaska Science Center scientist working on Savage...
September 19, 2013
By Ned Rozell Beavers and jet skis surprised four adventurers on their recent attempt to row through the Northwest Passage. Vancouver, British Columbia residents Kevin Vallely, Paul Gleeson, Frank Wolf and Denis Barnett are now back home after the team stopped short of its goal of gliding through the northern waterway on muscle power. After ever-changing winds stalled their 25-foot...
September 18, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sept. 18, 2013CONTACT: Diana Campbell, 907-474-5229, dlcampbell@alaska.edu Fairbanks, Alaska— For the first time, researchers completed an extensive exploration of how quickly ice is melting underneath a rapidly changing Antarctic glacier, possibly the biggest source of uncertainty in global sea level projections.
 Martin Truffer, a physics professor at the University of...
September 5, 2013
 By Ned Rozell Forty-six years ago, a ship long as the Empire State Building sailed with intention toward obstacles that captains usually avoid. The icebreaking tanker SS Manhattan was an oil company’s attempt to see if it might be profitable to move new Alaska oil to the East Coast by plowing through the ice-clogged Northwest Passage. Begging his way aboard was Merritt Helfferich...
August 22, 2013
 By Ned Rozell Despite taking up as much space as Australia, the blue-white puzzle of ice floating on the Arctic Ocean is an abstraction to the billions who have never seen it. But continued shrinkage of sea ice is changing life for many living things. A few Alaska scientists added their observations to a recent journal article on the subject. Since 1999, the loss of northern sea...
June 7, 2013
Scientist: Arctic sea ice needs better forecastsFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 3, 2013CONTACT: Amy Hartley, GI information officer, 907-474-5823, amy.hartley@gi.alaska.edu Fairbanks, Alaska—With climate change causing the arctic ice pack to melt, more and more northern waters are opening up to shipping each summer. Sea ice in the region is a major hazard, warns Hajo Eicken, a...
June 6, 2013
In a new feature that pairs young and distinguished scientists, Professor Emeritus Carl Benson of the UAF Geophysical Institute is interviewed on his pioneering work on snow stratigraphy on the Greenland ice sheet. In a reflective Q&A, Benson answers questions posed by Gifford J. Wong, a doctoral candidate at Darmouth College. The interview is a highlight of the recent Witness the Arctic...
June 6, 2013
By Molly Rettig   Every summer, Alaska’s glaciers melt and send vast quantities of water gushing through silty gray rivers, past towns and villages and finally into the sea. Some glaciers calve directly into the ocean, instantly losing car-sized chunks of ice and wowing boats full of tourists. The world's melting glaciers are boosting ocean levels 0.71 millimeters a year, accounting for...
May 31, 2013
 Hajo Eicken, a geophysicist and sea ice expert at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, has penned a Comment piece that is in Nature. Eicken's Comment addresses the need for better forecasts of Arctic sea ice and is available here. With climate change causing the Arctic ice pack to melt, more and more northern waters are opening up to shipping each summer. Sea ice...
May 24, 2013
By Molly Rettig The trick to getting a good ice core is to drill straight down into the sea ice, continually clear the slush gurgling up from the ocean, correctly reassemble the core fragments on the tray, take its temperature every couple of inches before it melts or cools, and saw it into hockey-puck-shaped chunks without dropping them in the snow. And, of course, not drop the heavy...