Catch the latest news from ACRC's scientists, staff, students, and partners.
Can yellow-cedar recover from climate-driven declines?
Across the temperate rainforest of Southeast Alaska, a change is taking root. Warming winters are reducing snowpack in the region and causing a massive decline in a culturally, economically, and ecologically important tree species; yellow-cedar. Yellow-cedar trees are adapted with fine, shallow roots that allow them to respond to early spring warming and get a head start on growth over other species. Once an advantageous adaptation, it has now made the species susceptible to freezing when early snowmelt and frosts can be fatal to mature yellow-cedar trees. In Alaska and British Columbia, yellow-cedar is declining across 400,000 hectares and ten degrees of latitude.Read More
Unique drainage event at Suicide Basin causes minor flooding in Juneau
As smoke from distant wildfires clouds the skies above Southeast Alaska, Juneau residents have a much closer hazard on their minds. Warm weather sped up water collection in Suicide Basin, a glacier-dammed lake adjoining Mendenhall Glacier that has generated outburst floods regularly over the last decade. On Sunday, July 7th, the basin water level reached a point where it began to overtop the Mendenhall Glacier ice dam, flowing along the side of the glacier towards Mendenhall Lake. Almost one week later, on July 13th, the basin began draining beneath the glacier. At Mendenhall Lake, the water level rose to 8.62 feet (just under minor flood stage) and peaked just after 8 P.M. – earlier and lower than predicted.Read More
Is glacier tourism changing the chemistry of the Juneau Icefield? ACRC supported graduate student wins National Geographic Society grant to find out.
Visiting graduate student Megan Behnke spent her last summer in Juneau deep in the mud, looking at how dissolved organic matter moves from wetlands into streams. This summer, she has something a few degrees cooler in store. Behnke was awarded a prestigious National Geographic Early Career Grant to investigate ancient carbon and the impacts of fossil fuels from tourism on the Juneau Icefield.Read More
Dim Future: Black carbon and dust are speeding up glacial melt on the Juneau Icefield
Are tiny, heat-absorbing particles accelerating the melt of the Juneau Icefield? A recent study led by UAS Assistant Professor of Geology and ACRC collaborator Sonia Nagorski found that dust and black carbon particles darkening the snow surface are speeding up snowmelt on the Icefield by days, or even weeks each year. The study also included UAS faculty Eran Hood and Jason Fellman, Susan Kaspari from Central Washington University, and McKenzie Skiles from the University of Utah.Read More
What does drought look like in Southeast Alaska?
The term drought brings to mind cracked earth, forest fires, and empty river beds, but at the Southeast Alaska Drought Workshop held in Juneau this week, a different type of drought was discussed.Read More
ACRC work highlighted in a New York Times article on glacial retreat
ACRC director Allison Bidlack, alongside USFS collaborators Ryan Bellmore and Adelaide Johnson, was featured in an interactive New York Times article on the disappearance of glaciers from the Pacific Northwest.Read More
By Rope, Raft, and Air: A season of research on glacier-dammed lakes
Rappelling down rock cliffs, rafting across glacial lakes, and traversing icy crevasses, all in the presence of a massive, ever-changing glacier – it's all part of the job for glaciologists monitoring glacial outburst floods (also known as jökulhlaups) in Alaska.Read More
Thinking Deep: Land, sea, and soil connections at the Coastal Rainforest Margins Research Network Workshop
In March, over 30 scientists from across the US, Canada, and as far as Germany stood on the soggy wetlands of Juneau’s Douglas Island during the third Coastal Rainforest Margins Research Network workshop.Read More
Salmon density exacerbates low dissolved oxygen in Southeast Alaska streams
Stand above a salmon spawning stream in Southeast Alaska come late summer, and the sheer quantity of fish is impressive. Maneuvering through water sometimes barely higher than their gills, salmon are powerful ecosystem engineers that disturb sediment and fertilize rivers. This fall, a study published in Aquatic Sciences led by ACRC researchers Jason Fellman, Eran Hood, and Sonia Nagorski looked at how salmon may be changing the chemistry of streams they travel in.Read More