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Science & Environment

Science and environmental reporting on news and community topics. Science coverage is occasionally provided by community members.

Courtesy Paul Melovidov

For a long time, scientists thought reindeer would be big losers in climate change, but the reindeer on St. Paul Island are challenging that theory.

As their main winter food source has disappeared, the St. Paul herd has changed its diet so they can survive on the remote island. This adaptation could have global implications for reindeer facing a warming climate.

If there’s one fact everyone agrees on about reindeer, it’s this:

Laura Kraegel/KUCB

Since Sunday’s blizzard, road crews have worked extra hours, trying to clear snow from roads across Unalaska.

Deputy Police Chief Jennifer Shockley said continuing snowfall has made that difficult and led to several road closures and car accidents, including three on Wednesday.

“We had a motor vehicle accident with some minor injuries on Airport Beach Road," she said. "We had an accident on Haystack Hill as well as another traffic disruption because of a disabled vehicle. We also had an accident in the Safeway parking lot.”

Northern fur seals at St. Paul Island's Reef rookery.
John Ryan/KUCB


Northern fur seal pup production on St. Paul Island has hit its lowest level since 1915.

Every other year members of Seattle’s Marine Mammal Laboratory travel to the Pribilof Islands to estimate how many pups are born. Scientist Rod Towell has been a part of the counts since 1992. He says the difference at the rookeries on St. Paul is striking.

AVO / U.S. Geological Survey

One Aleutian volcano has erupted again, and another is showing signs of life.

Bogoslof Volcano erupted early Tuesday morning, continuing a series of explosions that date back to mid-December.

The Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) warned a trace amount of ash could fall on Unalaska, 60 miles to the east, but there have been no reports of it reaching the island.

Meanwhile, the AVO has increased the alert level for Takawangha Volcano, 60 miles west of Adak.

The National Weather Service has issued a Blizzard Warning for the Unalaska area from 6AM to 4PM on Sunday, 01/22/2017.   There is expected to be winds from the East of 45 to 60MPH with gusts to 80 MPH.  Additionally, snow accumulation of 3 to 6 inches is expected along with visibility of one quarter mile or less.  Snowfall combined with strong winds and blowing snow will produce white-out conditions.  Please secure loose objects around your residence and businesses.  Motorists should exercise caution. Alaska statute requires headlights to be illuminated when visibility is limited.