From the Anchorage Daily News, some anecdotal evidence that we may not see an ice-free arctic this summer. I had previously blogged on the lateness of a 70 degree plus day in Anchorage, and now it looks like this may be one of the coolest summers on record there. A friend of mine that I have morning coffee with who is pilot that flew to Alaska’s western side to do some fishing told me a couple of days ago that the season is the “worst ever” and he’s an Alaskan native.
Gloomy summer headed toward infamy
CHILLY: Anchorage could hit 65 degrees for fewest days on record.
So if the cold and drizzle are going to continue anyway, why not shoot for a record? The mark is well within reach, Albanese said:
MEASURING THE MISERY
In terms of “coldest summer ever,” however, a better measure might be the number of days Anchorage fails to even reach 60. There too, 2008 is a contender, having so far notched only 35 such days — far below the summer-long average of 88.
Unless we get 10 more days of 60-degree or warmer temperatures, we’re going to break the dismal 1971 record of only 46 such days, a possibility too awful to contemplate.
Still, according to a series of charts cobbled together Tuesday evening by a night-shift meteorologist in the weather service’s Anchorage office, the current summer clearly has broken company with the record-setting warmth of recent years. Consider:
• 70-degree days. So far this summer there have been two. Usually there are 15. Last year there were 21. In 2004 there were 49.
• 75-degree days. So far this summer there’ve been zero. Usually there are four. It may be hard to remember, but last year there were 21. In 2004 there were 23.
So are all bets off on global warming? Hardly, scientists say. Climate change is a function of long-term trends, not single summers or individual hurricanes.
Last year the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that it’s “unequivocal” the world is warming, considering how 11 of the warmest years on record have occurred in the past 13 years.
Federal meteorologists trace a lot of the cool weather to ocean temperatures in the South Pacific. When the seas off the coast of Peru are 2 to 4 degrees cooler than normal, a La Nina weather pattern develops, which brings cooler-than- normal weather to Alaska.
For most of the past year, La Nina (the opposite of El Nino, in which warmer-than-normal ocean temperatures occur off Peru) has prevailed. But that’s now beginning to change.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Web site, water temperatures in the eastern South Pacific began to warm this summer — and the weather should eventually follow.