Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Summer Heat

The heat is on for the eastern half of the interior today, with widespread 80s, including 83°F so far in Fairbanks and 84°F in Eagle.  Many RAWS site are hotter, but that's typical under strong summer sunshine.  More notable is the heat across the eastern North Slope: 72°F at Barter Island, and 80°F at Deadhorse on a southwest wind before the sea breeze kicked in.  Click to enlarge:

The 80°F at Deadhorse is the first time in nearly 3 years that the temperature has exceeded 73°F.  The calendar years of 2019 and 2020 had maximum temperatures of 73°F and 71°F respectively, which is actually the coolest pair of summers (by this metric) since 1987 and 1988.  But all four years from 2015-2018 saw at least one 80°F day in Deadhorse.  Here's a visual representation of all 75+ and 80+ days since 1970 in the combined history from Deadhorse and (prior to 1999) Prudhoe Bay.

It's interesting to note the occurrence of warm days in August - remarkably late in the summer for the Arctic coast - between 1989 and 2007.  Also, the trend towards earlier hot days seems notable: prior to 1990, the earliest 75°F was July 3, and today was the earliest 80°F on record.

In other (but related) news, Fairbanks airport has been reporting distant wildfire smoke this afternoon: presumably the result of the Haystack fire 20 miles north of town.  This is the first smoke report at the airport since June 1st of last summer, and that was the only day last year that reported smoke.

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