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
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.
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.
Caribou from the Porcupine Caribou Herd migrate onto the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northeast Alaska.
USFWS via AP
The Trump administration is opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas leasing – a step that's as much about politics as it is about energy.
Salmon spawn in an Alaska river.
As climate change warms northern rivers and changes precipitation patterns, some types of cold-loving fish are failing.
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
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.
Unlike mammoths, bison survived in Alaska at the end of the last ice age.
The historical record is full of surprises – and it could encourage conservationists to think more creatively.
The vast majority of visitors to Alaska come via a cruise ship.
AP Photo/Becky Bohrer
Alaska has been mostly spared from the virus, but the outbreak's impact on its economy could still be catastrophic because of its reliance on seasonal tourism.
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.
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.
New York’s offer of incentives to Amazon to open a headquarters in the state faced significant opposition.
AP Photo/Karen Matthews
The gap between rich and poor is at record levels in the U.S., yet it varies widely among the states. A political scientist explains why.
Most of Greenland is covered by Arctic ice.
AP Photo/John McConnico
In 1867, the US bought Alaska from Tsar Alexander II for a tidy sum of $7.2 million. Trump probably wouldn't be able to get that kind of bargain for Greenland.
Smoke from wildfires in Siberia drifts east toward Canada and the U.S. on July 30, 2019.
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 view of University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Nationwide, state government money has become a smaller and smaller fraction of public higher education budgets.
Students protest Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s budget cuts at the University of Alaska, Anchorage campus.
The Alaska Landmine
How did Alaska, one of the richest states in the Union, end up with budget cuts that lawmakers on both sides say could wreck the state's future? One answer's found in three letters: PFD.
A decade-long project to excavate a sod house from half a millennium ago has yielded nearly 100,000 artefacts.
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
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.
Yana Mavlyutova / shutterstock
Much of our scientific knowledge comes from just two regions in Alaska and Sweden.
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.
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.
Dance is a unique way of passing on cultural stories to a younger generation.
Many Native languages are dying, and their loss has deep and profound implications for our world.
Scientists on Arctic sea ice in the Chukchi Sea, surrounded by melt ponds, July 4, 2010.
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
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.