Nome airport is basking in warm midwinter sunshine this afternoon and reporting a temperature of 50 °F at 1 pm AKST, which is a new all-time high temperature record for January and for the period of December through March; historical temperature data in Nome go all the way back to 1907. There appears to be little chance that today's measurement is erroneous, as nearby Golovin is also reporting 50 °F.
If the temperature rises any higher, the November-March record will also be broken (50 °F on November 1, 1928). Nome has never before observed a temperature above 50 °F between October 17 and April 9.
[Update 4 pm AKST: The temperature has reached 51 °F, so it is unequivocally a new winter record.]
The dog musher community (via local news media) is alarmed at the warmth, and the implications for the upcoming Yukon Quest and Iditarod dog races. I was in Nome back in 1981 for the end of one Iditarod event. Quite some spectacle complete with blizzards and bizarre behavior.ReplyDelete
But this winter warmth can have serious consequences for wildlife. Any surface crust that forms from rain and melting can cause injury during travel and limit access to food under the snow cover. Plus it can delay breakup as it tends to seal thus retaining snow cover, and it may reduce the rate of sublimation.
Winter rain vs Wildlife:Delete
Thanks for the link and comments. I want to look into the history of rain vs snow more carefully. It's certainly an important issue.