Sunday, September 3, 2023

Record August Warmth

Just a quick note to re-emphasize how extraordinarily unusual the warmth of the last 6 weeks has been for the central and eastern interior, and particularly in terms of daily minimum temperatures.

Here's the leaderboard for average daily low temperatures in Fairbanks from July 16 through the end of August:

2023   55.2°F

2016   52.7°F

1990   52.5°F

2004   52.3°F

1974   52.3°F

2017   52.2°F

2021   52.0°F

This year stands out like a sore thumb.  The departure from normal represents a 3.3 standard deviation anomaly compared to the 1991-2020 distribution.  This is an extreme climate event, with a "return period" of many hundreds of years assuming a stable climate.

Accordingly, it's perhaps no surprise to see that there is *still* very little color in the foliage, based on Nenana and Cleary Summit webcam views from yesterday afternoon:

Here's a chart of Fairbanks airport daily minimum temperatures since June 1:

Looking at monthly statistics for August, Eagle had its warmest August on record (1905 is warmer in the books, but the minimum temperatures look much too high).  Northway was also the warmest on record, while Fairbanks was 3rd warmest overall, but warmest for daily low temperatures.  Gulkana also had its warmest August for daily low temperatures.

But change is in the air: snow was falling in the hills above Fairbanks yesterday morning.  Here's a view from Wickersham Dome, before the sky cleared out later in the day.

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