Kodiak Daily Mirror - Daily newspaper of Kodiak, Alaska
  
Science
 
Alaska Science Forum: After solstice, warmest days still ahead
A person might think that since we get our maximum sunlight on the summer solstice (on or about June 21), we should also get our peak warmth then. The sun’s calling the shots, right? Not entirely, said former Alaskan Martha Shulski, author of “The Climate of Alaska” and now climatologist for the state of Nebraska. “Alaska is warmest a few weeks after the solstice,” she said. A lag exists between the peak of solar ...
Jun 29, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 101 101 recommendations | email to a friend
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ALASKA SCIENCE FORUM: Foam on water a sign of life and death
While sitting in the front of a canoe on a twisty Alaska creek, my daughter asked to steer closer to the riverbank. She wanted to grab some suds. There, caught in the elbows of fallen trees, were quivering mounds of white foam. Foam is floating on most Alaska waterways this summer. Years ago, when I first saw yellowish suds on a creek that ran behind my cabin, I thought of something manmade and nasty spilled upstr...
Jun 16, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 88 88 recommendations | email to a friend
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Alaska Science Forum: Fire breaks down, builds up boreal forest
I once wrote about how fire had ravaged more than 10 percent of Interior Alaska during two smoky summers. A wildlife biologist called me out for choosing an inadequate verb. Tom Paragi chooses words that are more positive when he looks at a burned forest. Paragi works with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Fairbanks. His specialty is the ecology of disturbances to the boreal forest, among them logging and ...
Jun 08, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 79 79 recommendations | email to a friend
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Alaska Science Forum: Historic changes in species, water, on Kenai Peninsula
Larger than West Virginia, the Kenai Peninsula has the best of Alaska: coastal rainforests, two icefields, majestic deepwater fiords and a sapphire river home to the largest king salmon ever caught. It also has some of the best-documented changes of any geographic feature in Alaska, enough that a biologist now sees the peninsula evolving into a human-driven system. John Morton of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge...
May 25, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 83 83 recommendations | email to a friend
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ALASKA SCIENCE FORUM: Much of Arctic now significantly lower
When botanist Janet Jorgenson first visited a patch of tundra east of Kaktovik in 1988, it was flat, dry and thick with 29 species of lichens and mosses. Now, Tapkaurak is wet, gullied and fragrant with sedges and grasses. And, like other parts of Alaska’s North Slope, it is a few feet farther from the clouds. Tapkaurak is part of what might be an Arctic-wide thawing, draining and settling of the landscape. More t...
May 19, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 76 76 recommendations | email to a friend
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Alaska Science Forum: Yukon River breaking up with a whimper
CIRCLE — As the pilot of a chartered Cessna 206 curved in for a landing above the Yukon River, his passengers squinted at white river ice that clung to the south bank near town. Chocolate-brown open water filled river channels both upstream and downstream of the ice. In the seat behind the pilot, Ed Plumb of the National Weather Service scribbled in a notebook. Kerry Seifert of Alaska’s Division of Homeland Securi...
May 11, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 76 76 recommendations | email to a friend
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ALASKA SCIENCE FORUM: Calling wood frogs signal change of season
NEAR BALLAINE LAKE — Over the blat of engines and hum of tires on nearby Farmers Loop, Mark Spangler hears the chuckles of the animal he is studying. Male wood frogs in a one-acre pond on the campus of the Univer-sity of Alaska Fairbanks are singing a song of spring. The mating calls of several frogs ring off the eardrum. It’s a piercing noise created by air in the inflated cheeks of a creature that could hide in ...
May 04, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 74 74 recommendations | email to a friend
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Alaska Science Forum: Carpeting the Denali Fault with earthquake sensors
NEAR MILLER CREEK — Crouching amid scratchy spruce branches and surrounded by feet of snow, Amir Allam jabs half-frozen soil with the spikey base of a white cylinder. The seismologist twists the 6-pound seismometer to orient it northward. Then he clicks a cable to a magnetic connection on top. "Starting operation," says a tinny voice that sounds like a woman from London. The words come from a thick tablet attached...
Apr 27, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 79 79 recommendations | email to a friend
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ALASKA SCIENCE FORUM: White creatures changing with the season
One morning, through the west window, I noticed a flash of white. I looked up from breakfast to see a short-tailed weasel popping from a hole in the snowpack. He was sleek and streamlined and snow-white, except for where his tail looked like he dipped it in black paint. Later, a leggy snowshoe hare bounded away, and then paused nervously. Those sightings inspired a visit to my neighbor, who could tell me more abou...
Apr 20, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 65 65 recommendations | email to a friend
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ALASKA SCIENCE FORUM: The giant wave of Icy Bay
A landslide last fall caused a giant wave of the type not seen in Alaska since the storied 1958 event in Lituya Bay. After a period of heavy rains, a mountainside near Tyndall Glacier collapsed into a fiord of Icy Bay on Oct. 17, 2015. The displaced water generated a wave that sheared alders more than 500 feet up on a hillside across from the slide. To put that in perspective, the 2011 tsunami in Japan reached abo...
Apr 13, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 71 71 recommendations | email to a friend
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