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Articles on Alaska

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Permafrost is thawing across the Arctic, releasing microbes and organic materials that have been trapped in the frozen ground for thousands of years. NOAA via Wikimedia Commons

Thawing permafrost is full of ice-forming particles that could get into atmosphere

New research shows that permafrost contains huge amounts of particles that make it easier for cloud moisture to freeze. Thawing permafrost is releasing these ice-nucleating particles.
A surface coal mine in Gillette, Wyoming, photographed in 2008. Greg Goebel/Flickr

It’s time for states that grew rich from oil, gas and coal to figure out what’s next

The pandemic recession has reduced US energy demand, roiling budgets in states that are major fossil fuel producers. But politics and culture can impede efforts to look beyond oil, gas and coal.
This Arctic heat wave has been unusually long-lived. The darkest reds on this map of the Arctic are areas that were more than 14 degrees Fahrenheit warmer in the spring of 2020 compared to the recent 15-year average. Joshua Stevens/NASA Earth Observatory

100 degrees in Siberia? 5 ways the extreme Arctic heat wave follows a disturbing pattern

The Arctic is warming about twice as fast as the planet as a whole, with serious consequences. Scientists have been warning about this for decades.
The January 2019 collapse of a dam in Brumadinho, Brazil, sent mining tailings and mud over the landscape for miles, destroying this bridge and killing 300 people. Andre Penner/AP

Mine waste dams threaten the environment, even when they don’t fail

Dams built to hold enormous quantities of toxic mining waste have a long history of spills. Decisions in the Pacific Northwest threaten three free-flowing rivers there.
Smoke from wildfires in Siberia drifts east toward Canada and the U.S. on July 30, 2019. NASA

Huge wildfires in the Arctic and far North send a planetary warning

A researcher based in Fairbanks, Alaska, links 2019's record-breaking wildfires in far northern regions of the world to climate change, and describes what it's like as zones near her city burn.
A polar bear crosses ice In Alaska’s Chukchi Sea area, where a recent court ruling bars the Trump administration from greenlighting offshore drilling. NOAA/OER/Hidden Ocean 2016:The Chukchi Borderlands

A defeat on offshore drilling extends the Trump administration’s losing streak in court

Can presidents undo decisions by their predecessors to protect federal lands from development? A recent court ruling on offshore drilling says no, and could also affect contested lands in Utah.
2016’s warm winter meant not enough snow for the start of the Iditarod sled dog race in Anchorage, so it was brought by train from 360 miles north. AP/Rachel D'Oro

In Alaska, everyone’s grappling with climate change

For everyone from traditional hunters to the military, the National Park Service to the oil industry, climate change is the new reality in Alaska. Government, residents and businesses are all trying to adapt.
Scientists on Arctic sea ice in the Chukchi Sea, surrounded by melt ponds, July 4, 2010. NASA/Kathryn Hansen

Melting Arctic sends a message: Climate change is here in a big way

Climate change is transforming the Arctic, with impacts on the rest of the planet. A geographer explains why he once doubted that human actions were causing such shifts, and what changed his mind.
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is home to a great diversity of wildlife – one reason environmentalists oppose oil and gas drilling. US Fish and Wildlife Service

Why Americans will never agree on oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Alaska and oil proponents are cheering a move to open up an ecologically sensitive part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling -- a position environment supporters can't abide.

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