Wednesday, November 9, 2022

October Climate Data

First, an update on freeze-up at a couple of points of interest (at least to me).  The Tanana River at Nenana is partially but not fully frozen over, and the Yukon River over at Dawson appears to be frozen just downstream of town, but surface water is still moving in front of the webcam.  Beautiful light in both scenes:

And now looking back at October's climate anomalies: NOAA/NCEI data indicates that the month's temperatures were (a) far above normal in Southeast Alaska, (b) modestly above normal along the rest of the Gulf Coast, and (c) near the normal of the last 30 years for the rest of the state.

For the South Panhandle division, October tied the 1986 record for warmest October in the entire history since 1925.  This outcome is closely linked to the extremely warm sea surface temperatures across the northern North Pacific:

As for precipitation, October was another wet month compared to normal, the fourth in a row for the state as a whole.  The statewide July-October total precipitation was easily the highest on record, and the year-to-date statewide precipitation has also moved into first place in the history (1925-present).

Interestingly, this is the first year since 1981 to fall in the top 10 for January-October precipitation statewide.

The ERA5 gridded reanalysis data agrees quite well this month, with the exception of precipitation for the North Slope (see below).  Of course the error bars on North Slope precipitation estimates are very large because of the regrettable paucity of ground-truth observations.  For what it's worth, Utqiaġvik reported 1.01" of liquid-equivalent precipitation, the fifth highest in the past 30 years, and the SNOTEL sites along the Haul Road recorded near-normal to above-normal precipitation.

The Gulf Coast and southeast interior were much windier than usual, according to ERA5, but apparently western Alaska was relatively calm.  This is a bit of a surprise, given the lower-than-normal pressure over the Chukchi Sea.

As for sunshine, it was in short supply again for southern and eastern Alaska.

I'll update this post tomorrow with October's temperature reports from around the wider Arctic region.

Here we go: October's departure from the 1991-2020 normal temperature at 32 Arctic sites:

Here's the anomaly in terms of standard deviations: it was a significantly unusual month in central Arctic Russia.

The year to-date is running 2.8°C above the 1991-2020 normal at Russia's Tazovsky station, and that's good for the 3rd warmest year on record so far, after 2020 and 2016.  On the cool side, Kotzebue is running 1.1°C below normal, which is similar to last year through October.

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