AD Main Menu

Yereth Rosen

Six decades of oil field development on Alaska's North Slope, combined with climate warming, have changed the face of the land there in ways that were not expected when drilling at North America’s biggest oil field began, according to a new study published online on Feb. 11 in the journal Global Change Biology.

The changes would likely be missed by a casual visitor looking at tundra today, which might appear unaffected by the passage of time, said Martha Raynolds , a research biologist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Institute of Arctic Biology and a lead author of the study...

Yereth Rosen

The warming climate is helping spread southern pathogens and diseases north, scientists have found. But what about northern pathogens and diseases that that are migrating south?

The melt of Arctic sea ice may be to blame, say scientists who last week presented findings about marine mammal diseases in the subarctic regions.

In one dramatic case, 406 gray seals were found dead in 2012 on Hay Island off Nova Scotia, scientists said. The culprit: a parasite to which ringed seals, which live farther north in the Arctic, have long been exposed and to which they have developed resistance, said Michael Grigg, chief of the molecular parasitology unit at the National Institutes of Health...

Yereth Rosen

The climate benefits of natural gas are overrated because production of the fuel winds up releasing methane, a greenhouse gas that is far more potent than carbon dioxide, concludes a new study published in Friday’s issue of the journal Science .

The study synthesizes findings of about 200 previous investigations into methane leaks and natural-gas production and processing methods and finds that the negative side effects cancel out many of the climate benefits of a product widely considered to be a bridge between fossil and renewable energy...

Yereth Rosen

A type of stomach-turning bacteria that thrives in warm waters is starting to turn up in sea otters and other marine mammals that live off Alaska's Gulf Coast, an indicator of northern climate change, according to a newly published research paper authored by several Alaska veterinarians and biologists.

The bacteria is Vibrio parahaemolyticus -- Vp for short -- and it proliferates in waters at least 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees F), is a fecal pathogen notorious for accumulating in shellfish and causing diarrhea, vomiting and other gastrointestinal woes in people who eat the shellfish...

Yereth Rosen

A swath of land that would be otherwise developed into a Wasilla subdivision has been purchased and preserved for addition into the Palmer Hay Flats State Game Refuge, a nonprofit group announced on Wednesday.

The parcel, which covers more than 917 acres and contains three miles of creek important to all five Alaska species of salmon, was purchased in December for $1.5 million by the Great Land Trust, a nonprofit land-conservation organization.

The land has now been given to the state of Alaska for public use and is open to public access, the trust said. It will be managed as part of, and eventually formally added to, the game refuge...

Yereth Rosen

Small lakes and ponds around Alaska’s North Slope are freezing up later in the year, thawing out earlier in the spring and have ice that is thinner than in past decades, a change attributed to a steadily warming climate in the area, according to a new study led by University of Waterloo scientists...

Yereth Rosen

North America’s biggest glacier, about 100 miles east of Prince William Sound, pours about as much fresh water into the Gulf of Alaska each year as flows from the mouth of the Nile River, according to a new study published online in the journal Geophysical Research Letters . As temperatures rise, that flow of fresh water could increase by up to 50 percent decades from now, the study said.

Seasonal melt from Bering Glacier, a nearly 120-mile-long mass of ice that sprawls over 2,000 square miles, discharged about 40 cubic kilometers of freshwater annually between 2002 and 2012, said the study, led by scientists at the Michigan Tech Research Institute...

Yereth Rosen

Anchorage’s soggy and warm winter has been tough on Knobby, a Bactrian camel at the Alaska Zoo, among other animals.

Knobby, a male in the throes of his seasonal rut, has been tracing an icy path as he paces back and forth, staring over the fence at Mary Lu, the zoo’s female cold-weather camel. Zookeepers take pains to prevent his enclosure from getting too slippery. “We throw a lot of sand to try to make sure he doesn’t hurt himself,” said Shannon Jensen, the zoo’s curator.

But for creatures of the north without human caretakers, winter rains can be catastrophic...

Yereth Rosen

Royal Dutch Shell’s new chief executive said Thursday the company is shelving its Alaska exploration program, at least for this year.

An appeals court ruling that faulted federal regulators’ environmental analysis of Chukchi Sea oil development has created “substantial obstacles” to Shell’s plan to drill exploration wells this year in that remote region off northwestern Alaska, the company said in a statement ...

Yereth Rosen

When winter temperatures in Alaska’s largest city rise, Mike Abbott has reason to sweat.

Abbott, chief of operations for the Anchorage School District, mobilizes the forces that decide whether weather is bad enough to cancel school, a process that starts with field reports streaming in at 3 a.m. on questionable days. In Anchorage, cold and snow are not weather problems for local schools. Rain is the enemy...

Yereth Rosen

Pages