Frontier Scientists Blog

  • Modeling shifting oceanscapes; a collective pursuit

    Posted by Azara Mohammadi on March 18, 2014

    The Chukchi Sea, Bering Strait, and Bering Sea west of Alaska: Image by Google Earth, accessed March 17, 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,


  • Iditarod sled dogs’ fat burning capabilities

    Posted by Lauren Nielsen on March 12, 2014

    Sled dog: Image

    “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