Kodiak Daily Mirror - Daily newspaper of Kodiak, Alaska
  
 
Many sources of change in northern realm
In anticipation of an arctic science conference happening next month in Fairbanks, an editor asked me to write a column on climate change in the north. I told her climate stability would be the bigger story, since basswood trees used to grow in Fairbanks and redwoods once dropped their cones into the Porcupine River. Climate is always changing. But we have gotten much better at measuring those changes. We people a...
Mar 02, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend
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Alaska Science Forum: Country bird, city bird, all the same bird
The upper Colville River is one of the quietest places on the planet, a land of cliffs and tundra and tangles of willow. Fashion Island is one of the most human-altered landscapes in America, where developers long ago replaced the native vegetation with a Cheesecake Factory and P.F. Chang’s. A female peregrine falcon born in northern Alaska spent at least one of her winters on the 13th floor balcony of a hotel in ...
Feb 24, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend
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Ice worms: enigmas of the north
Recent research on the ice worm has shone some light on the tiny creature that appears when the sun sets on warmish glaciers. Few people have seen ice worms, but they are not mythical. Wispy and less than one inch long, ice worms live on glaciers, wriggling to the surface at night and sometimes lingering in meltwater pools during the day. They seem to be dormant during the winter. No one knows how long they live, ...
Feb 17, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend
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Alaska Science Forum: Polar bears walk shrinking treadmill of ice
Polar bears walking a treadmill of ice Stronger winds and thinner ice are forcing Alaska polar bears to work harder to remain in Alaska, according to scientists who have studied increased movements of both sea ice and bears. “There’s an energetic cost to stay in Alaska,” said David Douglas of the U.S. Geological Survey Science Center. He and others compared wanderings of polar bears from two periods and found the ...
Feb 10, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend
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Alaska Science Forum: Cook Inlet Basin amplifies earthquake shaking
Millions of people live in dimples on the Earth's surface — often near the ocean, in lowlands between mountain peaks too rugged and cold. One of these global indentations, Cook Inlet Basin, recently showed another characteristic of the planet's basins — they quiver like a bowl of jelly during an earthquake. Many people in Anchorage got rattled during the recent 7.1 earthquake on Jan. 24. Carl Tape did not feel the...
Feb 03, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend
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Alaska Science Forum: A case for rallying around sea ice
The ice floating on top of the world covers pretty much the entire Arctic Ocean in midwinter. By late summer it shrinks to half that much. If trends continue, by mid-century the summer ice may take up less space than Japan. As the Arctic Ocean becomes more blue, it absorbs much of the sun’s heat that it once reflected with great efficiency. This warmer ocean would quicken the melt of the Greenland ice cap, which w...
Jan 27, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend
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Alaska Science Forum: Mystery of the dancing wires revealed
In this quiet, peaceful time of year, with all the noisy birds flown south and all the scary bears in hillside dens, little things catch our attention. Like wires that move as if by magic. Aurora scientist and interested-in-all-things guy Neal Brown contacted me to see if I had written about why power wires sometimes dance to their own beat when there seems to be no wind or other force pushing them. He notices it ...
Dec 09, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend
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Alaska Science Forum: Kenai bark beetles primed for another run
Ed Berg has spent much of his life observing the natural happenings on a large peninsula (the Kenai) that juts from a larger peninsula (Alaska). The retired ecologist who worked many years for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been around long enough he might see a second version of the most damaging insect attack in Alaska history. The insect is the spruce bark beetle. About the size of a grain of rice, bill...
Nov 25, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 40 40 recommendations | email to a friend
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ALASKA SCIENCE FORUM: Weird world of northern dinosaurs coming into focus
During Patrick Druckenmiller's not-so-restful sabbatical year, he is flying to museums around the world. In Alberta a few weeks ago and London now, the University of Alaska Museum’s curator of earth science is looking at bones of dinosaurs similar to ones found in northern Alaska. The more he squints at them and chats with experts, the more he thinks far-north dinosaurs are like Alaskans compared to other American...
Nov 18, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 42 42 recommendations | email to a friend
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Alaska Science Forum: Pioneer songbird meets an early snowstorm
As piles of wet snow fell, an unexpected guest rapped at the window. My wife, Kristen, heard it bump into the glass. She was soon cupping in her hands a delicate bird she saw perched on the windowsill. "It's a golden-crowned kinglet!" she said. Kristen is a bird biologist, but I was surprised at her identification. Mighty little ruby-crowned kinglets belt out their big songs in our woods each spring, but golden-cr...
Oct 14, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 42 42 recommendations | email to a friend
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