The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

Articles written by Ned Rozell

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 By NED ROZELL    Nature    June 12, 2019

This wilderness lives up to its label

RUSSELL FJORD - Standing on this smooth gravel shoreline, 15 miles northeast of the town of Yakutat, you can tell something big happened. A forest of dead trees encircles the shoreline. The dry,...

 
 By NED ROZELL    Nature    June 5, 2019

How many Alaska glaciers?

Not long ago, a glaciologist wrote that the number of glaciers in Alaska "is estimated at (greater than) 100,000." That fuzzy number, may be written in passive voice for a reason, might be correct....

 
 By NED ROZELL    Nature    May 29, 2019

Time to redraw migratory maps?

Every spring, millions of ducks touch down on Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge, a spread of muskeg and dark water the size of Maryland. These days, more ruddy ducks seem to be among them. Recent...

 
 By NED ROZELL    Nature    May 22, 2019

The man who broke through the Northwest Passage

Fifty years ago, a ship long as the Empire State Building sailed toward obstacles that captains usually avoid. The icebreaking tanker Manhattan was an oil company's attempt to see if it might be...

 
 By NED ROZELL    Nature    May 15, 2019

Clam breath helps researchers learn about climate change

To learn more about one of the largest environmental changes of our lifetimes, Brittany Jones studies clam breath. Jones is a student earning her Ph.D. at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She is...

 
 By NED ROZELL    Nature    May 8, 2019

A powdery idea to reduce sea-ice loss

A team of researchers has a plan to slow the melting of northern sea ice using a sand-like substance. Leslie Field is an inventor trained in chemical and electrical engineering who lectures at...

 
 By NED ROZELL    Nature    May 1, 2019

Warm spring may result in gentle breakup

Following the warmest March Alaskans have ever felt, forecasters are predicting a mellow transition from ice to water for most big rivers in the state. Things don't always go that way during spring breakup, when chunks of river ice freed from the...

 
 By NED ROZELL    Nature    April 24, 2019

Birds large and small sniff their way through life

In the 1820s, painter and naturalist John James Audubon designed an experiment to test if birds had a sense of smell. He dragged a rotten hog carcass into a field, then piled brush on top of it....

 
 By NED ROZELL    Nature    April 17, 2019

Innoko is a long river short on people

A quick comparison of two great rivers in America: One, the Wabash, runs 503 miles through Indiana, flowing past four million people on its journey to the Ohio River. The other, the Innoko, slugs its...

 
 By NED ROZELL    Nature    April 10, 2019

Iditarod: one of the last Gold Rush towns

The mushers were gone, and so were the 640 dogs that pulled them out of town. A few days earlier, the volunteers who gave life to Iditarod had climbed into their single-engine planes and lifted off...

 
 By NED ROZELL    Nature    April 3, 2019

Oldest rock in Alaska is near Iditarod

IDITAROD - While gliding along a trail that had just felt the imprint of 2,000 dog feet, Bob Gillis skied over to a rock that jutted from the snow. A few miles northwest of the ghost town that gives t...

 
 By NED ROZELL    Nature    March 20, 2019

Alaska is taking shape near Yakutat

The forces shaping Alaska never sleep, especially near Yakutat. I visited the fishing town of about 800 people and many dogs a few years back. My assignment was to write about scientists studying...

 
 By NED ROZELL    Nature    March 6, 2019

The Riley Creek pack's sole survivor

As I was driving down the highway, I saw a shaggy, gray-black canine cruising along on the snowpack, right next to the road. Could it be one of the hardest animals to spot in Alaska, a wolf? Yes. I...

 
 By NED ROZELL    Nature    February 20, 2019

A bad summer for birds on northern island

"So, you get to write the obituary for Alaska," George Divoky said. The seasoned biologist with the quick-twitch brain had spotted me, notebook in hand, standing near his poster at the December 2018...

 
 By NED ROZELL    Nature    February 13, 2019

Life returns fast to lonely island

Bogoslof Island is the gray tip of a mountain that pokes from the choppy surface of the Bering Sea. The volcano stands alone just north of the Aleutians, far south of the larger islands of St. George...

 
 By NED ROZELL    Nature    February 6, 2019

Fuzzy memories of great Alaska cold snap

Last week marked 30 years since I turned my pickup left onto a North Pole road and noticed the clutch pedal did not return to my foot. In a panic, I reached down with my mittened hand and pulled. The...

 
 By NED ROZELL    Nature    January 30, 2019

Invasion of redpolls sends seeds flying

Why, a friend asked, are there so many birch seeds on top of the snowpack in Fairbanks? A day later, the answer hit me in the head. As I walked through the forest, I looked up just in time to get pepp...

 
 By NED ROZELL    Nature    January 23, 2019

Alaska's year without a summer

Two-hundred and thirty-six years ago, when General George Washington marched back into New York City as British troops were walking out, a volcano erupted in Iceland. For eight months of 1783, Laki...

 
 By NED ROZELL    Nature    January 16, 2019

American robins not heading north quite yet

While walking the streets of Washington, D.C., last month, a pleasant sound stopped me. A male robin was singing, high in a sidewalk sycamore. It was December, months away from when that bird would...

 
 By NED ROZELL    Nature    January 9, 2019

What's the purpose of a moose's long nose?

A scientist from Ohio once pondered why moose have such long noses. Why, one might ask, does a scientist from Ohio care? It can tell them about evolution, says Lawrence Witmer, a biologist and...

 
 By NED ROZELL    Nature    December 19, 2018

Grades keep slipping on Arctic report card

WASHINGTON, D.C. - At this annual gathering of thousands of scientists that has grown in step with the increasing number of people on Earth, researchers at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical...

 
 By NED ROZELL    Nature    December 12, 2018

Chunks of northern coast fall to the sea

The frozen cliffs of Drew Point, Alaska, (population zero) are tumbling to the ocean faster than perhaps any other location in the Arctic. The sea has eaten house-size chunks of tundra at a rate of...

 
 By NED ROZELL    Nature    December 11, 2018

Chunks of northern coast fall to the sea

The frozen cliffs of Drew Point, Alaska, (population zero) are tumbling to the ocean faster than perhaps any other location in the Arctic. The sea has eaten house-size chunks of tundra at a rate of...

 
 By NED ROZELL    Nature    December 5, 2018

Guess what city has America's worst air?

Back in 1901, Barnette did not know this river valley has one of the strongest temperature inversions on the planet and some of the calmest winds in Alaska. Nor did he know that a spike in oil prices...

 
 By NED ROZELL    Nature    November 28, 2018

A rogue ice shelf covering the Arctic Ocean?

Fifteen miles inland from the frozen coast of the Arctic Ocean, Teshekpuk Lake is one of the largest freshwater bodies in Alaska. On its northern shoreline are sandy bluffs that hold fossils of...

 

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