Monday, October 11, 2021

September Climate Anomalies

First, to follow up on the last post - the answer is no, the snow didn't survive in Fairbanks - at least not at the official snow monitoring site, which I believe is now at the university farm (location of the longest-running continuous climate record in Alaska).

Several days with daytime temperatures in the low 40s, and a lot of rain, doomed the early attempt at establishing snow cover.  The first 10 days of the month have now seen 1.28" of liquid-equivalent precipitation in Fairbanks, which is the 4th highest on record; and the top two spots are held by 2017 and 2019, so this is the 3rd time in 5 years with a very wet start to the month.

Looking back at September, here are the temperature and precipitation rank maps from NOAA/NCEI's climate division data: most of the state was in the lower tercile of the 1991-2020 distribution, and areas from Bristol Bay to south-central were much colder than normal.

Here's Rick Thoman's usual graphic showing the absolute temperature anomalies: note the remarkable -5.5°F anomaly at King Salmon.

And here's the ERA5 view of the month: it was yet another cloudy month in the northwest, but unlike during summer the winds were relatively light across western Alaska.

As an aside, I previously noted that the NCEI data seemed much too cold for the North Slope in July, but the value has been adjusted since then, and the latest result for July is much more reasonable - see below.  So it seems we should treat NCEI's preliminary monthly numbers with some caution.

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