Alaska’s Been Very Cold This Winter

Bill's Blog

(U.S. Air Force photo/John Pennell)

This note from Brian Brettschneider: “The statewide cold snap for Alaska is (about) over. For the 45-day period, this was the coldest since the 45-day period ending in Feb 2012. Prior to that, Feb 1999; (then back to) Jan. 1975.”

Check out the 24-Hour loop from the webcam at Utqiagvik (formerly known as Barrow AK. The high (not the low, the HIGH temperature here at Barrow yesterday (Wed.) was -32F. They have had 14 consecutive days colder than average and those 14 days were a combined 11.4° colder than average. Update: On Thursday as of 10 pm EST – Barrow had a high of -29° and a low of -41°.

Between Dec. 18 and Feb. 4 – Fairbanks had only one day that was warmer than average. In January the average temperature in Fairbanks was -21.4° and that was 13.5° colder than average. The warmest temperature they had all month was +4°.

McGrath AK was 17.9° colder than average in January. They had 15 mornings in Jan. when the temp. was between -35° and -51°.

Arctic sea ice extent has come back a little bit in the past couple years. The National Snow and Ice Data Center writes: “Arctic sea ice extent for January 2020 was 13.65 million square kilometers (5.27 million square miles), placing it ninth in the satellite record. This was 770,000 square kilometers (297,000 square miles) below the 1981 to 2010 January average and 570,000 square kilometers (220,000 square miles) above the record low mark for January set in 2018.”

And…speaking of ice. The lowest maximum ice extent on the Great Lakes in the satellite era (since 1973) was 11.9% in 2002. The highest maximum this season so far has been 11.7%. So, it’s still possible that we could set a low record for ice cover on the Great Lakes…but…it’s pretty cold around Lake Superior right now, and I’ll predict we can top that 11.7%.

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