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Yereth Rosen

Reduced ice cover is stimulating a new phenomenon in the Arctic -- extra blooms of phytoplankton occurring in the fall, just before freeze-up, in addition to the usual springtime blooms, new research finds.

A study , led by scientists at Canada’s Laval University and published online in the journal Geophysical Research letters, describes the autumn blooms that have become more frequent in the past 15 years...

Yereth Rosen

Two years after its ill-fated drilling season in Arctic waters off Alaska, Royal Dutch Shell on Thursday submitted a revised plan intended to show how oil exploration will go more smoothly the next time the company drills in the Chukchi Sea.

Shell submitted the plan to the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management , but has “made no formal decision” to carry out the drilling program, company spokeswoman Megan Baldino said.

“We’ve put a plan forward in order to preserve our options for a 2015 season,” she said...

Yereth Rosen

Wacky weather may be hazardous to people’s health, at least in far-flung areas of Alaska, according to researchers who have been conducting a multiyear study in eight communities around the state.

Abrupt shifts in temperature or winds, fierce downpours in lieu of steady but more moderate rains and prolonged periods of unusually hot, dry weather are some of the conditions that were correlated with human health problems, according to the research, which is being conducted by University of Alaska scientists.

Among the findings so far: Accidental injuries like hypothermia and frostbite increased about fourfold in communities where people had to change travel plans because of weather...

Yereth Rosen

Amid the grim statistics about suicide in the far north there are some bright spots -- and potential lessons for preventing future tragedies -- according to presentations given this week at an international epidemiology conference in Anchorage.

Suicide rates for Alaska Natives 70 and older are low, only half the national rates for that age group, according to information gathered by James Allen , a professor of psychology at the University of Minnesota, and his colleagues...

Yereth Rosen

For former U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Robert Papp , newly appointed as the government's top Arctic envoy , leading American circumpolar policy is somewhat akin to sailing in volatile conditions.

“One thing I learned as a sailor: You play the hand of cards that you’re dealt,” Papp said in an interview on Monday. Papp was appointed a month ago by Secretary of State John Kerry as the U.S. special representative for the Arctic...

Yereth Rosen

Snow atop Arctic sea ice has thinned dramatically since the mid-20th century, declining by more than a third in the western Arctic and by more than half in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas, reports a new study led by researchers at the University of Washington and NASA...

Yereth Rosen

The newly appointed U.S. special Arctic representative, former Coast Guard Commandant Robert Papp, has issued a call for ideas about policies that should be promoted at the Arctic Council once the United States assumes chairmanship of that eight-nation body next year.

A major goal for him, as he prepares for the two-year U.S. chairmanship, is convincing the American public that the Arctic is important to the nation, Papp said at a listening session Thursday in Anchorage...

Yereth Rosen

The tundra lakes that form over permafrost have been considered contributors to greenhouse gas accumulations and climate warming. The formation and dry-up of these lakes, scientists say, emits carbon dioxide and a far more potent greenhouse gas: methane. Scientists have documented methane bubbling up from lakes in Alaska and Siberia , and venting from the Siberian sea floor ....

Yereth Rosen

With another busy gold-dredging season underway in Nome, the U.S. Coast Guard just wound up an enforcement campaign to check gold seekers’ vessels for safety.

The 10-day operation resulted in onboard inspections of about 45 boats, about twice as many as boarded in a similar inspection operation last summer, said Cmdr. Shawn Decker, chief of response for the Coast Guard’s Anchorage sector. Inspected vessels included fishing boats and purely recreational watercraft but the vast majority of vessels undergoing safety checks in the Coast Guard’s Operation Gold Nugget were involved in the booming gold-dredging business, Decker said...

Yereth Rosen

Every year, as Arctic sea ice thins, scatters and melts, scientists ask: How low will it go?

While the long-term trend of less summer Arctic ice is clear, the short-term outlook for total melt in any given year is far murkier, thanks to the many and sometimes highly volatile factors that drive the final outcome.

Still, scientists are attempting to predict how much Arctic sea ice will remain at the end of this year’s melt, expected in mid to late September. The latest round of expert predictions , released July 23, yields a median of almost 2 million square miles, far above the record-low 1.3 million square miles in 2012 but below the 1981-2010 average of more than 2.5 million square miles...

Yereth Rosen

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