Before a weather forecast can be made, the current state of the weather must first be understood. This is no easy task in and around Alaska where many ground-based weather observing platforms, such as weather radars, are few and far between.
Erupting volcanoes, burning wildfires, thrashing winds off the Northern Alaska coast: what do these things have in common? You don’t want to fly a plane into them. That’s where unmanned aircraft come in; we can send flying robots to get data in places where we don’t want to go.
Augustine Volcano sits alone, a 4,000-foot pyramid on its own island in Cook Inlet. Like many volcanoes, it has a tendency to become top heavy. When gravity acts on Augustine's oversteepened dome, rockslides spill into the ocean. A scientist recently found new evidence for an Augustine-generated tsunami from a time when Egyptian pharaohs built their own pyramids.
The very notion of the “the big one” — a singular well-defined earthquake catastrophe — does not apply in Alaska.
There are many “big ones," said Michael West, the director of the Alaska Earthquake Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute.
Todd Brinkman, Assistant Professor of Wildlife Ecology, Institute of Arctic Biology, UAF
Eric Stevens, Science liaison, Geophysical Institute, UAF
Sean Barberie, Interdisciplinary Graduate Student, Geophysical Institute, UAF
Michael Castellini, Associate Dean of UAF Graduate School