Sunday, January 26, 2014

Record Freezing Level at Fairbanks

The 12Z (3 a.m.) balloon sounding launched from the Fairbanks International Airport this morning set some quite impressive records.

1) The 850 mb temperature of 9.4°C is a January record and is also at or above any temperature measured in November, December, March or April; but not February.

2) The 700 mb temperature of 1.4°C is a record for any month between November and March.

3) The 1000-500 mb thickness of 5545 meters is also a  record for any month between November and March (from Rick).

4) The 850-500 mb thickness of 4202 m appears to be a record for November through April (from Richard).

5) The interpolated freezing level of 3,229 m is a January and seasonal record. The previous record was 3,217 m on Jan 18, 1963.

The chart below shows today's 12Z sounding and the 1/18/63 (12Z) sounding side by side. If you discount the very shallow surface inversion where temperatures were below freezing (~24m), you have to ascend another 10,000+ feet to drop back below freezing. For comparison, the 3,229 m freezing level was only slightly lower than the 3,395 m at Bermuda and the 3,329 m at Lake Charles, Louisiana.

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