Located 2,600 miles southwest of Hawaii, the National Park of American Samoa is the most remote unit of the National Park System and the U.S. National Park south of the Equator. The Park spreads across three islands, 9,500 acres of tropical rainforest, and 4,000 acres of ocean, including coral reefs. While remote, the islands of American Samoa, true to the meaning of the word Samoa (Islands of Sacred Earth), are welcoming and offer beautiful landscapes and centuries of culture and history.
Seasoned backpacker and adventurer Yang Lu earned the grand prize in the 2015 Share the Experience photo contest with this image of a sunburst captured at sunrise in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah. Yang has made the outdoors part of his daily life and finds deep connection to the land through his lens.
“My photography is not just for recreation, it is to inspire people to explore these areas." -- Yang Lu
Photo by Yang Lu (www.sharetheexperience.org).
The plantings of cherry trees originated in 1912 as a gift of friendship to the People of the United States from the People of Japan. In Japan, the flowering cherry tree, or "Sakura," is an exalted flowering plant. The beauty of the cherry blossom is a potent symbol equated with the evanescence of human life and epitomizes the transformation of Japanese culture throughout the ages.
DOINews: AK CSC Researchers Find that Coastal and Interior Glaciers Respond Differently to Changes in Climate
Last edited 4/26/2016
News Release from the University of Alaska Fairbanks
The Gulf of Alaska is like a giant drain. Each year a massive amount of freshwater—equal to nearly twice the annual discharge of the Mississippi River—enters this body of water. This freshwater runoff is economically and ecologically important, but a new study shows that as glaciers change, future runoff patterns from may have important regional differences. Researchers from USGS, University of Alaska Fairbanks, and University of Alaska Southeast based the study on some of the longest paired glacier change and runoff records in Alaska. Interior Alaska's Gulkana Glacier and Kenai's Wolverine Glacier have been tracked by USGS for over 45 years. Researchers compared the glaciers' mass balance data—the budget of ice gained versus ice lost each year—to measurements of streamflow from the same basins.
They found that between 1967-2011 both glaciers had lost mass. What surprised them, however, was the proportion of streamflow that came directly from the shrinking glaciers. In the Alaska Range, glacier runoff made significant and increasing contributions to the total runoff. On the coast, where there is significantly more precipitation in general, the loss of glacier ice did not substantially affect the volume of streamflow. In the future, runoff volumes from interior Alaska glaciers are likely to be altered much more strongly by climate change compared to glaciers located in coastal, maritime environments.
This study is important for several reasons. Glacier runoff is different from rain or snow runoff—it has minerals and organic material that support species at the bottom of river and ocean food chains. Glacier runoff is also very cold, so it affects salmon habitat and the movement of ocean currents. Moreover, glacier runoff provides a notable water and power resource. Runoff from the Eklutna Glacier is used to quench the thirst and power needs of Anchorage residents.
This research will help project future changes in runoff that could impact habitat quality, freshwater availability, and hydropower development.