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Tag: Alaska

Early spring rains bring rise in methane emissions across Alaska

Early spring rains bring rise in methane emissions across Alaska

Science
Feb. 4 (UPI) -- Analysis of a bog in Alaska suggests early spring rains cause permafrost to thaw and boosts methane emissions. According to observations made by researchers at the University of Washington, a 2016 spike in early spring rainfall caused permafrost to melt three weeks earlier than usual. As a result, plants began growing and methane-producing microbes proliferated. The head start resulted in a 30 percent increase in methane released by the bog during 2016. "Early rainfall sent a slog of warm water moving into our bog," Rebecca Neumann, an associate professor of environmental engineering, said in a news release. "We believe microbes in the bog got excited because they were warmed up, so they released nutrients from the soil that allowed more plant growth. Methane production an...
Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Technology
Seven weeks after a massive earthquake rocked Alaska, aftershocks are still shattering 7-year-old Connor Cartwright's sense of safety. They shake the earth far less than the 7.0 magnitude quake that sent a mirror, TV and dishes crashing to the ground in the Anchorage home where Connor lives with his mother, father and 11-year-old brother. But the seemingly never-ending aftershocks deepen quake anxiety for the second-grader and many other Alaska residents in the wide swath of the state shaken by the Nov. 30 quake. When the big aftershocks hit, Connor fears his home will collapse. "I feel like the house won't hold up," he said. Many of the aftershocks are so small that people don't notice them, like a recent one that Connor didn't feel at school — but his teacher made all the student...
Ecologists: Alaska wildlife management threatens state's largest carnivores

Ecologists: Alaska wildlife management threatens state's largest carnivores

Science
Jan. 15 (UPI) -- Alaska's wildlife management plan puts the state's largest carnivores, wolves and bears, at risk, according to a group of ecologists at Oregon State University. In a new paper published in the journal PLOS Biology, ecologists argue the state's management plan privileges moose, caribou and deer over carnivores. By depressing carnivore numbers, wildlife managers can ensure moose, caribou and deer populations balloon -- a boon for hunters. "Gray wolves, brown bears and black bears are managed in most of Alaska in ways designed to significantly lower their numbers," William Ripple, distinguished professor of ecology at Oregon State's College of Forestry, said in a news release. "Alaska is unique in the world because these management priorities are both widespread and legally ...
Partial solar eclipse to cast lunar shadows across Asia, Alaska

Partial solar eclipse to cast lunar shadows across Asia, Alaska

Science
Jan. 5 (UPI) -- Sky watchers across much of East Asia, Siberia, the North Pacific and parts of Alaska can spend the first weekend of the new year catching a glimpse of a partial solar eclipse. The moon's central shadow, the umbra, will miss Earth, passing several hundred miles above the North Pole, but its broader, outer shadow, called the penumbra, will darken portions of the Northern Hemisphere on Saturday and Sunday. If the moon was just a bit closer to Earth and circled the Earth in the same orbital plane, every new moon would spawn a total solar eclipse. But the moon's orbit is slightly askew, causing the moon's shadow to miss Earth more often than not. Interestingly, this weekend's partial solar eclipse will move backwards in time, beginning to the west of the International Date Lin...
Salmon graveyard gives rise to forest in Alaska

Salmon graveyard gives rise to forest in Alaska

Science
Oct. 23 (UPI) -- A 20-year salmon study has helped birth a forest on the banks of a small stream in southwest Alaska. It turns out, carcasses of sockeye salmon encourage tree growth. Every summer, thousands of sockeye salmon from Bristol Bay swim upstream, squeezing into the shallow upper reaches of Hansen Creek. They come to spawn and die. For two decades, researchers have been monitoring the salmon run -- one of the largest in the world -- and tallying the impact of bear predation on the population. Each summer, during the height of the run, scientists walk the river and collected dead salmon, counting the causalities. To ensure they don't double count any dead fish, researchers toss the carcasses onto the banks of the stream. In the hopes the work might produce a measurable impact on t...