Alaskan fish breed more often due to climate change

The changing climate has detrimental effects on many polar species, especially in the Arctic, which warms twice as fast as the rest of the planet. Numerous studies have shown that traits like reproduction are negatively impacted. However, a long term study conducted by researchers of the University of Washington has found that one of Alaska’s most abundant freshwater fish species is altering its breeding patterns in response to climate change. This could impact the ecology of northern lakes, which already acutely feel the effects of a changing climate.

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Greenland’s icebergs deliver more meltwater than glaciers

The iconic icebergs in Greenland are not just scenic photo motives. They are a sign of changes which happen along the entire coast, the melting of the Greenland glaciers. These icy leviathans, consisting of fresh water, break off and slowly float into the adjacent waters, slowly delivering their fresh water into the salty oceans. A research team has now concluded that icebergs contribute more meltwater to Greenland’s fjords than previously thought, losing up to half of their volume as they move through the narrow inlets, according to the teams findings.

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Giant snowballs have mysteriously appeared on the coast of Siberia

Giant snowballs have appeared on the Arctic coast of Siberia. Special environmental conditions created this natural phenomenon. Residents of the village Nyda, north of the Arctic Circle, have been enjoying the unusual sight.

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Flies are the key pollinators of the High Arctic

During summer the Arctic is buzzing with insects. Here like everywhere else plants rely on them for pollination. A new study found that small flies related to the common house fly are the most important insects in the Arctic. This findings, however, offers cause for concern, as arctic fly abundances are declining as the Arctic continues to warm.

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Auroras move to the rhythm of Earth’s magnetic field

The majestic auroras have captivated humans for thousands of years, but their nature – the fact that the lights are electromagnetic and respond to solar activity – was only realized in the last 150 years. Thanks to coordinated multi-satellite observations and a worldwide network of magnetic sensors and cameras, close study of auroras has become possible over recent decades. Yet, auroras continue to mystify, dancing far above the ground to some, thus far, undetected rhythm.

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Siberian larch forests are still linked to the ice age

The Siberian permafrost regions include those areas of the Earth, which heat up very quickly in the course of climate change. Nevertheless, biologists are currently observing only a minimal response in forest composition. In the places where, when considering the air temperature, pine and spruce forests should be growing, Siberian larch trees are still thriving. The cause of this paradox has been tracked using million-year-old bee pollen by scientists at the Alfred Wegener Institute, the University of Cologne, and international partner institutions. The results suggest that the intensity of the ice ages determined how quick the vegetation adapted to warmer climate periods. In our case, that means: Because the last ice age was very cold, the vegetation of the Taiga lags behind the climate by many thousands of years. A surprisingly long period, as the researchers in the open access journal Nature Communications report.

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Surprising new business opportunities for Greenland

In recent years, mackerel have appeared in Greenland waters, and in their wake new and economically important fisheries have emerged. The first mackerel were caught in Greenland in 2011. And already three years later, in 2014, mackerel fishing had grown to make up entire 23 percent of the Greenlandic export earnings which is 78,000 tons of mackerel.

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Researchers measure record erosion on Alaskan riverbank

According to estimates, Alaska's thawing permafrost soils cost the USA several 100 million dollars every decade – primarily because airports, roads, pipelines and settlements require relocation as a result of sinking ground and eroding river banks. An international team of researchers has now measured riverbank erosion rates, which exceed all previous records, along the Itkillik River in Alaska's north. In a stretch of land where the ground contains a particularly large quantity of ice the Itkillik River eats into the river bank at 19 metres per year, the researchers report in a study recently published in the journal Geomorphology.

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Investigation into walrus disease closes with culprit

A few years ago, scientists found sick walrus and other seal species along the coast of Alaska. While seals suffered heavy losses from the mysterious disease, infected walrus did not seem to die that easily. Examination of the so-called “unusual mortality incident” began in 2011. Infected animals showed symptoms like bleeding skin lesions, respiratory problems, lethargy, and loss of hair. But the good news now are, that no walrus with symptoms has been found for over a year. Thus, investigations in walrus were stopped according to both NOAA and Fish and Wildlife Service. But the cause for the disease still remains a mystery.

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Stay fat and still healthy -Polar bear genome gives new insight into adaptations to high-fat diet

A comparison of the genomes of polar bears and brown bears reveals that the polar bear is a much younger species than previously believed, having diverged from brown bears less than 500,000 years ago. The analysis also uncovered several genes that may be involved in the polar bears’ extreme adaptations to life in the high Arctic. The species lives much of its life on sea ice, where it subsists on a blubber-rich diet of primarily marine mammals.

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