Friday, June 11, 2021

Stubborn Northwest Chill

It's been a cold start to climatological summer in the Bering Strait region, with a remarkably stubborn upper-level low residing over the area for an entire week.  Cut-off low pressure features like this are often persistent, but it's unusual to see almost no movement for such a long time.  Here's a simple animation of 500mb height analyses, courtesy of Environment Canada, at 3am each day from June 1-10.

With cloud and cold air stuck overhead, Nome has seen the coldest first 10 days of June since 2006.  Another statistic: the week ending June 8 was the third coldest week entirely within June since 1977; but 2006 and 2013 both had slightly colder weeks in early June.  Like this year, 2006 and 2013 both had major disruptions to the stratospheric vortex in January; there may or may not be a connection (perhaps more likely not), but I'm always on the lookout for these things.

Some fresh snow has been seen at various locations around the Seward Peninsula: here's a photo from Shishmaref on Tuesday (June 8), courtesy of Alaska DOT&PF on Twitter.

And here's a video of snow in Nome on June 5.

As for the larger context of Nome's temperatures so far this year: it was a chilly end to winter, but spring has been considerably warmer than normal most of the time since mid-April.

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