It was dark, cold, and my mind was filled with awe and wonder as I watched waves of yellowish green dance across the night sky. Sometimes the light was so bright it filled the sky with a glow like a giant lightning bug was hiding in the hillsides filling the whole sky with it's glowing light. Other times, giant waves of green with an occasional tint of purple arced across the sky like a glowing bioluminescent sea of magical energy.
The Aurora Borealis or 'Northern Lights' over Fairbanks, Alaska
The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) is one of the largest pipelines in the world. This behemoth spans 800 miles across the Alaskan terrain, from Prudhoe Bay to the Valdez Marine Terminal.
Crossing three mountain ranges, three major earthquake faults and over 500 rivers and streams, the pipeline transports approximately 226,174,050 barrels of oil each year, 10% of the United States’ oil production.
Thawing permafrost and unstable ground soil could result in devastating consequences for over 400 miles of the pipeline. To help alleviate this threat the...
"You Must Learn...Let Me Demonstrate the Force of Knowledge" KRS One
As the sun sets behind the evergreen trees outside my hotel room in Fairbanks, Alaska, my eyelids begin to droop as my head swirls with new information about permafrost, land ice vs. sea ice, and green polynyas.
Sunset on the second night of PolarTREC orientation
New Words from the Experts
Permafrost and polynyas...what in the world are those? Yesterday, in addition to more technology checklists and further details about expectations, we had the privilege to hear from...
My name is Allyson, and I do research and development for new exhibits at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) in Portland, Oregon. In August, I'll be heading to two Alaska Native villages, Nikolai and Telida, to do research with permafrost scientists and community members. More on that later – what I want you to know right now is that I'm pretty sure I get to ride in a bush plane. I played it cool when I got the news (I'm a professional), but this is a lifelong ambition of mine, so if you want to hear my voice at its highest pitch, wait until I post the video.
When you speak of the tundra, most people will picture this desolate, frozen landscape. However, in reality, it's a vast, dynamic ecosystem that survives in extremes. One of the features I have been interested in is thermokarst. Thermokarst is when the permafrost melts and creates slumps, ridges, and sinkholes in the landscape. It is a direct result of climate change in the arctic and the consequences of thermokarst is unknown.
This is a picture of thermokarst I took near the base of Slope Mountain. These features can be seen everywhere.
Today after our Polar Connect event, we went and completed tram runs and Unispec and NDVI measurements, and began thaw depth on the phenology plots. In a previous entry I explained NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) and how it is calculated (see journal entry from June 17th, The Drone Invasion). The day before we did qualitative observations of the phenology plots and today we went back with instruments to collect quantitative data on the greenness of the plants. To do this, we used the GreenSeeker that measures NDVI and the Unispec. The Unispec measures the spectrum of light...