Fairbanks saw its first substantial snowfall of the season this week. Between 6-8 inches fell over two days, across the borough. We easily set a record for the latest date to have at least an inch of snow on the ground.
The temp this morning was a brisk -4F at the cabin.
Katey Walter Anthony & a member of her methane hunting team, with high tech tools
I was fortunate enough to join a group from the University of Alaska – Fairbanks, when they toured an Interior Alaska lake, as a part of their ongoing study of methane.
With Alaska seeing the melting of its permafrost, the organic material that has been locked in the frozen ground for thousands of years, is now being released in the form of methane gas. Katey Walter Anthony, and her team, have been studying lakes throughout Interior Alaska for years, in order to get a better understanding of this transfer.
HBO was in town, with a group from Oslo, Norway, making a documentary. We all joined the fine folks from UAF out on some local lakes. Methane is being released year round, but in winter it is trapped under the ice. The ice often shows the tell tale signs of methane release: whether in the form of bubbles in the ice, or a thinning of the ice where the methane rises from the lake bed. An ice fishing chisel and torch can make for an interesting day out on an Alaskan lake.
Warning: Do not try this without the professionals from UAF!
Lakes all across the arctic are releasing methane at an astonishing rate.
Photos courtesy of Nicholas Hasson, UAF Geophysical Institute
I spent much of Friday afternoon up on The Ridge. I closed a few things down for the winter, then went walking the trails. As one can see, we still have just a dusting on the ground here in Interior Alaska. Today, snow was finally in the air. I was covered with the white stuff, when I made it back to the truck, but very little accumulated on the ground.
We have set a record for the latest date for having at least an inch of snow on the ground. Rumor has it that the streak will end this weekend, but I’ll believe it when I see it. Still, I wasn’t complaining that I could do today’s hike without snowshoes.
The Aurora has been phenomenal the past few days, with Sunday night producing an incredible light show over Interior Alaska. The bands of green, flowing light completely dominated the night sky for hours, making it difficult to even see the stars.
No, not the political ads…
A bull moose makes his way through an Interior Alaska autumn. Photo credit: NPS
I am back in The ‘Banks in time for All Hallows Eve. The cabin wood bin is full, the weasel still resides in the wood shed outside, and we received just a dusting of snow on Sunday. That does make life better for the rabbits, as they had already turned white and really stood out on the brown earth.
The 2-4″ in the forecast, tuned out to be .4″ in reality. We will avoid a brown Halloween only on a technicality. We have had just one brown Halloween since record keeping began in Fairbanks. The year was 1938, when a Chinook wind blew in, and melted what snow there was on the ground in the latter half of October.
We are still on pace in 2018 to rewrite some records, however. 1938 set the record for the latest date Fairbanks had an inch of snow on the ground. November 6, to be exact. As of this writing, we have no precipitation in the forecast for the next 10 days.
The Pond has just enough ice to support the dusting of snow