Saturday, September 7, 2013

Fairbanks Wins Summer 2013 Temperature Contest

* Updated 9/8 with tabled added at end *

The winner for greatest average temperature during Summer 2013 was the Fairbanks International Airport. Their average temperature was 63.5°F. The lowest temperature was Barrow 4ENE. Their temperature was 38.7°F. To qualify for the ranking, a station had to record at least 89 (of a possible 92) days with complete (and unflagged) temperature data. A grand total of 142 of the 249 stations in Alaska qualified. The first map below shows the locations of the 142 stations and colors represent the temperature categories. An inverse distance weighted surfacing technique was used.

Within Fairbanks, the second greatest value was at Aurora (62.1). The Aurora value is also the second largest for the entire state of Alaska. To me, the difference between the two stations, 1.4°F, indicates either a pronounced urban heat island effect at the airport or some other local meteorological effect. Any insight from Fairbanksans would be appreciated.

[The Aurora and Airport #2 cooperative are very close to sloughs and the effects are evident on clear nights, when the low temperatures runs lower than the Airport. College Observatory has a time-of-obs confound. The Airport is a relative warm spot due to the slightly relative higher elevation—note that the Airport did not flood in August 1967 and is also much more open exposure than any coop site, which undoubtedly allows for more mixing. —Rick]

* Update section *

Thanks for the insight into the local temperature effect in Fairbanks Rick. The additional table below shows the top Summer 2013 temperatures. Interestingly, the warmest overnight low temperatures in Alaska this summer were measured in Anchorage. Consequently, both Merrill Field (PAMR) and Lake Hood (PALH) were warmer overall than most stations in Fairbanks.