News Archive

June 21, 2018
Just outside my window here at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, workers are drilling into the asphalt of a parking lot using a truck-mounted rig. They twist a hollow bit 25 feet into the ground and pull up hard, clear evidence of why the blacktop is sinking.   A few days ago, John Walsh gave a talk a few hundred steps from that parking lot. Walsh has spent 17 years in Fairbanks studying...
June 14, 2018
Of the five species of salmon that swim Alaska waters, the pink is by far the most plentiful. Some scientists think the fish is an overabundant predator that outcompetes other salmon and some seabirds.   In the late 1990s, Japanese researchers noticed an intriguing pattern while studying in the Bering Sea just north of the Aleutians. During every odd-numbered year, populations of tiny...
June 7, 2018
All of a sudden, we are again the land of no night. Summer happens every year, but it is always a surprise. Maybe because winter is the normal state of middle Alaska, with a white ground surface possible from late September until late April.   Over the years, I have marked this frenetic, green time by slaving my body clock to the circling sun and trying to stay awake at least once for 24...
June 5, 2018
Earth scientists consistently look for a reliable way to forecast earthquakes. New research from University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute professor Carl Tape may help in that endeavor, due to a unique set of circumstances. “Our observations have recorded an unequivocally interesting sequence of events,” Tape said. Tape and his colleagues found evidence for accelerating activity...
May 31, 2018
In Alan Weisman’s book, “The World Without Us,” the author ponders “a world from which we all suddenly vanished. Tomorrow.” In his thought experiment, Weisman travels around the world to explore that question, revealing that cockroaches and bedbugs would not fare well without our sloppiness and warmth, but Theodore Roosevelt’s granite face will stare down from Mount Rushmore for the next 7.2...
May 30, 2018
Life returned to the asteroid-blasted Chicxulub crater much sooner than at some other sites far from the impact point 66 million years ago, according to a University of Alaska Fairbanks scientist and fellow researchers. UAF Geophysical Institute professor Michael Whalen studied a core drilled about 4,500 feet below the crater, offshore of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Whalen and colleagues, led by...
May 25, 2018
For the past century, official thermometers scattered around Alaska have shown a warming trend. Most of the trusted weather stations are in river valleys; Gulkana, at 1,300 feet, is the high point of Alaska’s 21 “first order” weather stations, some of which have been running for a century.   But what about the weather up high? A scientist recently found evidence for even greater warming...
May 24, 2018
Atmospheric scientists at the University of Alaska Fairbanks have launched an effort to better understand urban air quality problems in northern cities. During the next few years, Bill Simpson and Jingqiu Mao of UAF’s Geophysical Institute hope to join international researchers on a large-scale field study to understand the chemistry behind air pollutants in Arctic and sub-Arctic cities....
May 17, 2018
A Fairbanks scientist recently made an intricate new map of Denali while crisscrossing its summit a few times in a single-engine airplane. His top-of-the-continent measurement was within a few feet of a GPS reading done a few years ago, using a system he calls fodar.   Matt Nolan is a former University of Alaska Fairbanks faculty member who is now in the business of precision mapping using...
May 14, 2018
Kansas has joined the unmanned aircraft system testing range managed by the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Testing programs overseen by Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus are now part of the Pan-Pacific UAS Test Range Complex. “By adding partners, we’re strengthening our capability and the diversity of climates and geographic areas where we can test,” said Cathy Cahill, director of the...