Friday, November 25, 2022

Thanksgiving Climate

Happy Thanksgiving to US readers.  It was a warm one in Fairbanks: about 15°F above normal for the date, and that makes it 4 out of the last 5 years that the holiday has been uncharacteristically mild.  But last year was different, with temperatures more typical of mid-January.

Here's a chart of the daily temperature range on Thanksgiving Day since 1930 in Fairbanks.  There are huge variations from year to year, of course, but somewhat less so in recent decades, as nearly all the really cold Thanksgivings (daily mean temperature below -20°F) were pre-1970.  (1994 was a notable exception, however.)

As for snowfall, it's interesting to note that even though only 19 of 93 Thanksgivings since 1930 have produced an inch or more of snow (20%), this is beating the odds for the time of year as a whole: only 13% of all November-December days see an inch of snow.  As for a more substantial snowfall of 3", this has been accomplished on Thanksgiving only twice: in 1975 and 1996.

At least Thanksgiving has always been "white": there has always been snow on the ground in the recorded climate history.  The same cannot be said of Christmas (1934).

Here are parallel charts for Anchorage and Utqiaġvik.  Interestingly the only Thanksgiving with a temperature above freezing in Utqiaġvik was way back in the volatile 1930s (1931 in this case), although 2017 and 2019 came pretty close (25°F and 27°F respectively).

1 comment:

  1. Next week will see (forecast says so) some clearing skies and radiation cooling. But this Fall in Fairbanks has been regularly cloudy with near surface temps vs dew points that have contributed to fog. That has to have helped moderate temps. No wind much and no real prolonged cold surface air within striking distance. No snow either...2-4" on the ground. No complaints as heating costs are formidable.