News Archive

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...
May 10, 2018
When I left my sister’s house in Brooklyn yesterday afternoon, I was 4,200 miles from my home. That’s a long way, but I slept in my Fairbanks bed before the next sunrise. Enabling this incredible time travel are modern jet aircraft like the Boeing 737-700, which carried me and 125 others on the first leg of my journey, from Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey to Seattle-Tacoma...
May 2, 2018
“Jeremy offers us only his incessant snoring to remind us that he is a man and not a god.” So wrote Seth Adams on an Instagram post showing Jeremy Vandermeer striding across a wind-whipped ridge near the frozen headwaters of the Ambler River. Adams is a writer and photographer in Fairbanks who accompanied Vandermeer for a good portion of a recent 500-plus mile ski traverse of Alaska. Vandermeer...
April 26, 2018
Millions of Alaska birds nest on rocky emerald islands seen by few people other than ship captains. One of the funkiest of these creatures is the crested auklet, which looks like a bassist in a punk band and smells like a tangerine. These hand-size birds have intrigued Hector Douglas for years. He just wrote a paper on how the smelliest crested auklets also have the largest crests — groups of...
April 24, 2018
The University of Alaska Fairbanks has signed a new agreement with Sandia National Laboratories to conduct basic science, energy and security research in the Arctic. Under the agreement, UAF and Sandia’s efforts will include: Advocating for a comprehensive multiagency research facility that tackles overarching Arctic issues. Supporting efforts to improve Alaska’s resilience against...
April 12, 2018
KANUTI HOT SPRINGS — After a few hours of skiing through deep snow, Forest Wagner and I smelled a tuna sandwich. We knew we were closing in on warm pools of water.   From the frozen Kanuti River, we moved along an open stream up toward Kanuti Hot Springs, one of more than 100 hot springs in Alaska. Except for the extreme northwest portion of the state, hot springs exist from Attu in the...
March 29, 2018
Overflow ice, also known as aufeis, is like a field of arctic daisies that comes back year after year. Aufeis that clogs northern valleys is born when frigid winter air meets cold water welling up to the ground’s surface. Aufeis dies when warm air finally melts it in July or August.   Fields of aufeis (“off-ice”), some covering entire valley bottoms 10 feet thick, can terrify people who...