As the Arctic warms, scientists at this remote field station try to make sense of the changing environment

September 11th, 2017 @   - 

As Alaska's climate changes, almost every veteran researcher at Toolik Field Station, the Arctic research center just north of the Brooks Range, has a story about lightning.

Linda Deegan, a senior scientist at Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts, was enjoying a beer by Toolik Lake when she saw her first strike. She remembers uttering an expletive when she saw it.

Deemed impossible in northern Alaska only 30 years ago, thunderstorms eventually appeared, likely due to rising temperatures. Then came fire. In 2007, a lightning strike sparked Alaska's largest recorded tundra fire, which torched 400 square miles just 20 miles from Toolik.

by Kelsey Lindsey

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