Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Snow and Cold Notes

Following up briefly on yesterday's post, 2.0" was the official snow measurement from Denali Park HQ yesterday.  This is actually fairly remarkable: in a century of climate observations, the earliest date with 2" of snow in one or two days was more than two weeks later: August 26-27, 1984.  The latest in the spring with such an event was June 18.  The only measurable snow recorded in July was 1.0" on July 17, 2003.

Yesterday is also the the only time with more than an inch of snow reported on the ground at the daily measurement time in either July or August: the previous earliest in the season was September 2, 1980.

The cold air mass also produced some notable freezes this morning, including 21°F at Chicken, 26°F at Eagle airport, and mid to upper 20s at many RAWS locations.  The 21°F in Chicken is the coldest on record for this early in the season, although there's only 25 years of data.  Previously the coldest observed in Chicken between June 15 and August 15 was 24°F, and perhaps surprisingly a sub-20° reading hasn't been observed prior to August 29 (2012).

On another note, it's also quite remarkable to see that persistent cold over the western Chukchi Sea has allowed sea ice to linger this summer along the Arctic coast of far eastern Russia, and in recent days some ice has made its way down through the Bering Strait.  Here's the latest NWS ice analysis:

The NSIDC commented recently that it seems unlikely that the Northern Sea Route will open up this year, so that will presumably help avoid a fiasco like last year with unprepared ships getting stuck at freeze-up.

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