Frontier Scientists Blog
Posted by Liz O'Connell on March 25, 2014
Multiple instruments, configured along a tram-like platform, sense the tundra below and gather detailed data while traveling along a 50 meter transect. “We are gathering measurements that we don’t know exactly how they will be used,” said Steven Oberbauer, professor of biological sciences at Florida International University.
The high resolution information is more detailed than that gained by a satellite or by a meteorological station that is situated in one spot. In the video [ITEX: Tram powered], Nathan Healey, post-doctoral research associate at Florida International University, describes in detail the instruments and types of data they gather.
In a more detailed study, masters student Jose Luciani in video [ITEX: Node to Node] digitizes the growth variation of individual plants. Luciani wants to know if it is more advantageous for plants to grow horizontally or vertically in the changing Arctic environment.
Oberbauer said: “We collect the data, we post the data. They are going to be in a national archive, so 50 years from now, if somebody wants to come back, they can look at a 3D image, a 3D movie of the transect. They can look at specific plants that are there over the years, over the days. That’s the object of the project, to establish a baseline of high resolution measurements.”
Meanwhile in the winter when snow usually blankets the Arctic, dog mushing enthusiasts run their dogs over tundra environments in races like the Iditarod Great Sled Race. You can watch these 3 videos – [Ceremonial Start, Dog Handling, Mike Santos] – about Mike Santos, owner of Wolf’s Den Kennels in Cantwell, Alaska to find out more about the Iditarod as well as the capabilities of sled dogs and dog handlers.
Frontier Scientists: presenting scientific discovery in the Arctic and beyond
Posted by Azara Mohammadi on March 18, 2014
Azara Mohammadi for Frontier Scientists – In 1996, Dr. Kate Hedstrom travelled to Norway to “Sit on Paul Budgell’s steps,” as she says. She went there to get a piece of code recently improved by Paul Budgell. “He promised his model and I went to Norway to get it!” says Kate. Hedstrom is an Oceanographic Specialist who has lived and worked in Alaska since 2001. The rewritten code Hedstrom traveled to Norway to retrieve works within ROMS (the Regional Ocean Modeling System); ROMs is an open source tool made up of many algorithms which model the physics of the ocean and can be coupled with biogeochemical, bio-optical, sediment, and sea ice applications. Hedstrom works with teams of scientists using computer models like ROMS to better understand the changing oceanscapes of the Arctic. As the Earth changes, scientists are pushed into uncharted territory in which old models no longer apply. Simultaneously, without the patterns of a climatically similar past to guide and inform predictions of the future,
Posted by Lauren Nielsen on March 12, 2014
“It is so instinctual to be doing what these dogs are doing...” Iditarod contestant and avid musher Mike Santos believes, “...That it really requires very little training.” Dogs love to run. Still, a musher’s challenges are daunting. Alaskan weather is fierce and unpredictable; handling logistics, supplies, the vagaries of trail conditions, and– perhaps most of all– knowing the capabilities of yourself and your team are vital for every racer. Santos chooses his sled dog team carefully. “Just like people, they are all suited to different temperatures, different trail lengths, team size,” &c. Mike Santos owns Wolf’s Den Kennel in Cantwell, Alaska, which houses about 65 dogs. Calorie counting Every sled dog racing the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race consumes roughly 12,000 calories daily, the equivalent of 24 McDonald’s Big Macs. Yet they weigh only about 40-60 pounds [18-27 kilograms]. That makes sled dogs powerful calorie burners; in contrast, human athletes struggle to put away more than 5,000 calories in one