Was the Anchorage all-time temperature record aided by airport growth?

It sure seems that way. Yesterday, NWS Anchorage trumpeted these headlines:

Here is the official report. [language removed – I accidentally conflated the all-time record high with daily high -Anthony]

Source: https://w2.weather.gov/climate/getclimate.php?wfo=pafc

The stage was set by a weather event: a large high-pressure dome centered squarely over Anchorage:

Upper-level high pressure is very strong and anchored over southern Alaska. Model output. (TropicalTidbits.com)

Despite what climate alarmists say, it was a weather event, not a climate event.

But did the location of the temperature reading have anything to do with the new “all-time” record high in Anchorage? Quite possibly.

First, there were other records set in the area, and all of them were smack-dab under the center of that high pressure dome. It is a well-known meteorological fact that sinking air heats up:

Note that those other records are all at airport locations.

Here’s the location of the ASOS (Aviation weather station) that made the Anchorage record in Google Earth. Note the black streaks on the runway just south, that’s where the majority of planes land and put on reverse thrust and take off. Winds coming from the south will push hot jet exhaust towards the ASOS temperature sensor.

The yellow marker is the location of the ASOS weather station via Google Earth:

Click to enlarge. Source: https://www.google.com/maps/@61.168541,-150.0165294,3320m/data=!3m1!1e3

NW winds will be warming downslope winds from Mt. Sustina (Foehn winds). Yesterday the prevailing winds were WEST at the time of the records, but NW either side of that hour. Winds from N, NW, W, SW, and S will all transport heat from the taxiway and runway asphalt towards the temperature sensor.

Closeup view:

Source: https://www.google.com/maps/@61.16908,-150.0275,245m/data=!3m1!1e3

This image from Bing Maps via Digital Globe shows that there is construction going at the airport for that runway. Note all the construction equipment parked around the ASOS station (circled in red):

Source: https://www.bing.com/maps?cp=61.16908018593092~-150.02875101566315&sty=r&lvl=18&FORM=MBEDLD

One wonders if the construction equipment might have been adding to the temperature record, like our famous Scottish Ice Cream Truck added to an “all-time” temperature record.

Here is the hourly data from July 4th:

Source: https://w1.weather.gov/data/obhistory/PANC.html

The Government Hill station in Anchorage , about 5.6 miles away to the NE, only hit 79 about the same time on July 4th

Source: https://www.wunderground.com/dashboard/pws/KAKANCHO105/graph/2019-07-4/2019-07-4/daily

In 1969, the airport station was not sandwiched between two ashpalt heatsinks and the ASOS didn’t exist. The ASOS system didn’t come into use until the 1990s.

I think the location at the airport could have easily added a couple of degrees to the record. Same for the other airport locations of Kenai, Palmer, and King Salmon.

Airport history, note the growth:


It sure looked a lot different before 1970. Small tower, and only one runway, as this historical photo from the FAA shows, looking west.

UPDATE: Merrill Field was the Anchorage airport in the early days of the temperature record, and now serves as a general aviation airport.. The current Anchorage airport Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport was built in 1951.

Note the airport (Merrill field) today – a lot of asphalt and concrete:

UPDATED: {added from Wikipedia} Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport covers an area of 4,608 acres (1,865 ha) at an elevation of 151 feet (46 m) above mean sea level. It has three runways: 7L/25R is 10,600 by 150 feet (3,231 x 46 m) with an asphalt surface; 7R/25L is 12,400 by 200 feet (3,780 x 61 m) with an asphalt/concrete surface; 15/33 is 10,960 by 150 feet (3,341 x 46 m) with an asphalt surface.  For the 12-month period ending December 1, 2017, the airport had 261,961 aircraft operations, an average of 718 per day.

The Anchorage International Airport was renamed in 2000 by the Alaska Legislature to honor then long-standing U.S. Senator Ted Stevens.

UPDATED: Here is a postcard from around 1960 of the Anchorage International Airport:

Here is the airport today:

By Frank K. from Anchorage, Alaska, USA – Anchorage International Airport and Cook Inlet, CC BY 2.0

And in 1964, according to NOAA’s HOMR database, the station was moved about a mile west, probably from the tower location. Back then most small airport towers had the temperature sensor on the tower so they could computer and report the very important density altitude information.

1964-04-021.06 mi W

Source: https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/homr/#ncdcstnid=20022040&tab=LOCATIONS

This was probably due to the airport reconstruction due to the great Alaska Earthquake. Maybe the Earthquake had a hand in the 1969 record due to the location change and the construction.

In my view, the Anchorage airport is a false record, aided and abetted by the location of the thermometer, and a terrible place to measure for climatic records. In my view, this record reflects the growth of the airport, not climate change.

Don’t believe me? Read this recently released peer-reviewed paper which says simple things like “openness” due to obstructions contribute as much as 1 degree C: (h/t to Dr. Roger Pielke Sr.)

Microscale Warming due to Poor Ventilation at Surface Observation Stations


Screen-level air temperature measurements at surface observation stations are influenced by local-site-scale factors. These local influences may affect global-scale climate change studies. This study investigated the influence of surface obstacles on air temperature measurements at the screen level at climate observation stations in Japan. Screen-level air temperature was measured simultaneously at two neighboring sites (<100 m apart) that differed in terms of their openness. Daytime air temperature was 0°–1°C higher at the narrower site, and theoretical analysis revealed that this warming was caused by poor ventilation. At night, poor ventilation at the narrower site caused the air temperature to be 0°–0.2°C lower, which was demonstrated experimentally and by theoretical analysis. The range of temperature changes due to site narrowing shown in this study is not negligible in climate change studies. Guidelines for site maintenance and metadata recoding were consequently proposed in terms of site openness.


It makes me wonder if that construction machinery (see above in the Bing Maps photo) was still parked around the ASOS for the July 4th holiday.

UPDATE 7/6/19 9AM PDT:
From the Anchorage Daily News: (bold mine)

Anchorage hits an official 90 degrees for the first time on record – with an asterisk

The weather service first reported that a record of 89 degrees had been reached in an hourly sampling of airport weather. The actual temperature was 89.1, but it is the weather service’s practice to round to the nearest whole number.

But because the temperature of record is collected at an airport, it is sampled more frequently than on the hour, an NWS official in Anchorage said. Upon evaluation of minute-to-minute temperatures, the weather service said, meteorologists saw that at exactly 5 p.m. the temperature spiked to 89.6 degrees before cooling back down to 87.8 five minutes later.

That my friends is either jet exhaust impacting the sensor, or wind carrying heat off the tarmac, taxiway, or runway.

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Tom Halla
July 5, 2019 10:10 am

Another example of a “record” due to bad siting.

Reply to  Tom Halla
July 6, 2019 9:47 am

Like the French heat wave last week, Montpellier airport was supposed to have broken the old record by several degrees. But the sensor is next to massive new carpark which was build about 15 years ago.

July 5, 2019 10:22 am

Every article I read stated unequivocally that the Arctic is MELTING !!!! Aiiiiieeeeeeeeee !!!!!! Every plant and animal in the Arctic is going to DIEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!

You mean that isn’t true?

Al Miller
July 5, 2019 10:29 am

It’s official – hot weather is proof of…man made global alarmism. Cold weather, well, hey look over there.

Dave Fair
July 5, 2019 10:59 am

Global warming has vanished as a main alarmist talking point; it is now severe weather caused by … something Man has done to produce CO2. Random hot weather events get their hype, but its hurricanes, storms, floods, droughts and etc. that are whipping up the masses for them to approve of socialist schemes, insane energy policies and higher taxes. Its hysteria about “increasing extreme weather events” and “accelerating sea level rise” causing an “existential threat” to mankind that now drives CliSci propaganda.

It is an observable fact that UN IPCC climate model “projections” are not a sufficient reason to fundamentally alter our society, economy and energy systems. If you believe that they are actually sufficient for such a purpose, come right out and say so. Don’t hide behind arcane arguments related to the latest nitpicking “peer reviewed” study that uses their extreme predictions.

The entirety of CliSci is based on high ECS assumptions driving the (proven to be) inaccurate UN IPCC climate model forecasts. The misuse of unrealistically extreme and dystopian scenarios for modeling, along with fanciful ECS guesses, gives us the unbelievable projections (used as actual forecasts by propagandists) of future warming. It should be a crime for “researchers” to use UN IPCC model outputs to speculate about the demise of their chosen biota over the next 80 years or so.

July 5, 2019 11:04 am

Obvious siting problem.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  beng135
July 5, 2019 7:54 pm

With a thermometer up yer butt it is a sitting problem.😖

July 5, 2019 11:09 am

It’s takes a thinking mind to do work like this. What does that say about our climatologist friends?

Thinking mind: “This [90F temp] wouldn’t have anything to do with acres of cement and asphalt surrounding the thermometer, would it?”

PhD Climatologist mind: “No it would not”

Thinking mind: “What do record cold temperatures in 4 provinces in Canada this winter mean? Why don’t you ever cover record lows?”

PhD Climatologist mind: [sound of dropping pin]

https://twitter.com/Climatologist49/status/1146931497602936832 (scroll down)

HD Hoese
Reply to  icisil
July 5, 2019 2:14 pm

That’s a good twitter feed, obviously and impossible always useful sorts of science settled words. “Feels like 103°” currently a couple of miles from where I live. Guess where that comes from? It would help to put normal back to average (or even mean) where it belongs and feel like to, well, I feel like I have forgotten the proper word. Weather Underground does use average and heat index for surrounding stations but champions extremes, usually hot.

How may anemometers get (un)blocked over the years? I feel like we are getting more wind recently.

Reply to  icisil
July 5, 2019 6:58 pm

Excellent icisil!

July 5, 2019 11:09 am

Still, half the US states’ standing high temperature records were set before 1941! Yet the “adjusted” NASA data have disappeared the Dust Bowl.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  brians356
July 5, 2019 2:58 pm

Yes, and NASA has practically disappeared the hot El Nino year of 1998.

NASA wanted to do that so they could pretend that the last few years were the “hottest years evah!”

Fortuntely, the UAH satellite chart still gives 1998 its due, showing it as warmer than any year in the 21st century except for the year 2016, which was 0.1C warmer than 1998 (a statistical tie)…

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  brians356
July 5, 2019 4:56 pm

Apparently “ALL-TIME” is only 67 years. Who knew?

Most paleoclimate proxies don’t have the temporal resolution to show such “ALL-TIME” blips in the record, or even centennial blips, making them pretty useless for setting precedent.

July 5, 2019 11:17 am

Airport based weather stations are designed to tell your the conditions related to flights and out of the airport .
Has these area can be very different to rest of the environment you cannot use weather data from a station located somewhere else .
They are used for general weather record NOT BECAUSE THEY DO A GOOD JOB BUT BECAUSE THEY ALREADY EXIST.
In the old days of ‘uncertaining ‘ it did not matter what these locations had ‘problems ‘because its accepted as a ‘hit and miss ‘ game anywhen . That is until ‘settled science’ came along and suddenly all those problems needed to ‘go away ‘ not that anything was changed about what caused them .
Anyone who as ever worked airside could tell you hot the pans get and what ‘jet wash ‘ feels like .

July 5, 2019 11:29 am

For the purpose that these particular type of stations serve – determining air temperature near the runway, which can be critical information for takeoff purposes – the siting here is fine. But for general atmospheric purposes they’re obviously flawed (they’re probably going to run hot), and the people announcing these records know this, or at least they should. I’ve gotten to where I just automatically disregard any “record” temperature claim if it comes from an airport station.

July 5, 2019 11:34 am

Gee, Anchorage had record heat caused by a sinking air mass.

Meanwhile, Mammoth Mountain skiers and snowboarders were enjoying the still-deep snows with jumps and leaps and slaloms down the mountain. Accuweather posted a nice video about it. They won’t close the slopes until probably August, and then the next snow season will be upon them.

Weather is a strange creature. It confuses people who don’t understand that it’s constantly changing. I expect to see snow in September this year, AGAIN. Try keeping a weather diary, and shooting pictures of events like early and late snows to support things. That may prove useful some day.

Bryan A
Reply to  Sara
July 5, 2019 12:26 pm

Snow that Sticks all through the year is the beginning of glaciation

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Sara
July 6, 2019 9:58 am

It is not unknown for for the Sierra Nevada Mountains to have snow even in July.

Sweet Old Bob
July 5, 2019 11:35 am

LOYDO ? ? Where are you ?
😉 😉

Bryan A
Reply to  Sweet Old Bob
July 5, 2019 12:27 pm

Off Skiing

Reply to  Sweet Old Bob
July 5, 2019 6:48 pm

Here I am.

“Despite what climate alarmists say, it was a weather event, not a climate event.” Huh?

What is a “climate event” that hapens in one day? Is there such a thing? Apart from Anthony, who used that phrase? I googled it but the only reference was this below, so I guess he just made it up. http://www.thebristolbaytimes.com/article/1901extreme_lack_of_sea_ice_fall_heat_mark_2018

Given Alaska’s skyrocketing temperatures I’d be most surprised if the record maximum DIDN’T skyrocket too. So of course its part of the ongoing climate event that is the rapid warming of Alaska and the Arctic in general and that just can’t be ‘splained or doubt-mongered away as “weather”.


Reply to  Loydo
July 5, 2019 9:36 pm

Somehow the definition of “skyrocketing” got downgraded by a huge amount.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Loydo
July 9, 2019 4:19 pm

Climate events can happen every day on this planet, according to the latitudes , heavy rains and hail flooding roads and railways.

Avalanches, mudslides, coming down.

Siberian forest fires in sparsely populated areas.

July 5, 2019 11:53 am

Fort Yukon holds the record in Alaska of 100 F in 1915.

Is this really something to get excited about?

Jack Roth
Reply to  Wally
July 6, 2019 1:10 pm

No it’s not anything to get excited about, other than 90 degrees is unusual for the southern part of the state and so it’s notable briefly as something that happens once or twice per century. . It’s as unusual as dropping to-34 in Anchorage in the winter, although that’s a very common winter temperature for Fairbanks or Fort Yukon. It doesn’t make it unnatural in any way. BTW Fort Yukon or Fairbanks often get to 90 and above in the Summer because they’re further north, in the middle of a very large plane, and have no real darkness. It’s much easier for a stagnant air mass to situate itself in the middle of the state, between the Brooks range and the Alaska range, and with 23 hours of illumination, temperatures will go up and up when that happens. The other thing is that most people don’t realize how damn big this state is.

But the fact of the matter that no one seems to realize is that once the high pressure dome established itself over this area, it was a given that temps would end up reaching or breaking records if the dome lasted long enough. The daylight heating hours at this latitude are so long at this time of year that temperature can only go up every day as long as the dome persists. It has absolutely nothing to do with CO2.

So the question becomes: does this period of high pressure differ substantially from the period that gave us the previous record in 1969? And was such temp difference affected by the growth of the area? Can we assume that 3-5 degrees is due to UHI? I think the answer is that it’s clearly a factor, if not the factor. The Anchorage region suffered a 9.2 earthquake in 1964, still the strongest in North America and one of the strongest ever recorded. It totally flattened Anchorage, and pretty much all of South Central Alaska. I can’t imagine that all had been rebuilt 5 years later. Heck when I got here in 1992 you could still see the impacts of the earthquake. Anchorage has almost doubled in size over the last 20 years. The airport has exploded in size and traffic. The largest roads of the state (in terms of lanes) have been built around the airport. So I think we can safely assume that growth affected the temperature, as it has done in every other city in the world.

July 5, 2019 11:58 am

(period of record 1952-2019) The ALL-TIME high?????? So time began in Alaska in 1952??????? Who knew?

Bryan A
Reply to  Sheri
July 5, 2019 12:23 pm

Only all time RECORD high.
Records only go back to 1952 as all daily recordings prior to 1952 were eaten by the Pet Moose

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Bryan A
July 5, 2019 5:12 pm

But that’s not what they say in every case: “Anchorage hit 89 degrees Thursday to break the all-time highest temperature ever recorded at the official recording station. The previous record was 85 degrees set on June 14, 1969.”

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
July 5, 2019 7:46 pm

They should consider themselves as blessed, looking at the dew point temps compared to the central-midwest US. The true measure of kinetic heat in the atmosphere has to be relative humidity and the dewpoint. That’s what is keeping the Arctic from getting as cold as the alarmists desire in winter.
Everything points to water as the dominant feature of Terran climate regulation. Nothing observed (without confirmation bias applied) suggests that CO2 has played a significant role in weather and (over the 30 year term) climate. The effects of ENSO are most apparent and indisputable.
The fact that we are enjoying an optimal temperature period accompanied by a beneficial rise in a trace gas necessary for all life on the planet should not be overshadowed by provably false allegations of atmospheric overabundance.

David Wozney
Reply to  Bryan A
July 6, 2019 4:05 am

It is amazing there are so few all-time record temperature highs for cities throughout the world these days, given that temperature records go back for only decades rather than centuries, and given that there are thousands of cities throughout the world.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Sheri
July 5, 2019 12:50 pm

Northern Hemisphere Arctic Amplification is a two-edged sword for the climate hucksters; cold periods are amplified as well as hot periods. CliSci uses the current hot period and compares it to the post-1940 to early 1970 cold period, meanwhile disappearing the past hot period of the 1920’s and ’30’s. And “peer review” lets them get away with it.

Always watch for the sleight of hand. CliSci practitioners are propagandists; they have gotten their way by pretending to be disinterested scientists. Eventually, though, most people will begin to use the common sense they currently use in reviewing advertisements, especially when the coming tax hikes and price increases hit. But there will always be the suckers.

It seems to be too late for the EU; the socialists have taken over. I fear it might be too late for the U.S. There is, however, always hope; that pesky American Constitution seems to sometimes get in the way of the schemers.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Dave Fair
July 6, 2019 9:56 am

Dave Fair,
You said, “… cold periods are amplified as well as hot periods.” How and why is that? Are you confusing unsupported claims of increasing extreme weather with that of a warming climate? My impression is that Arctic Amplification happens because it is a region with typically low humidity, and therefore, increasing CO2 has a disproportionate effect on nighttime and Winter warming. Why would cold periods be amplified?

July 5, 2019 12:17 pm

I just returned from Anchorage and Soldotna a day ago. The car thermometer was 85 on Wednesday on blacktop. I could see the airport being warming due to all the buildings around. Good news though, Wxit glacier has not disappeared saw it with my own two eyes.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Edgar
July 9, 2019 4:54 pm
July 5, 2019 12:18 pm

Of course Government Hill is going to be cooler, with water immediately west and northwest of it. Note the low temperature at Government Hill was 61 F, and it was 59 F at Anchorage. (I had to look that up myself.) This looks like the main reason Anchorage International Airport got so much warmer was because it was inland. Note that urban effects normally warm nighttime low temperatures more than daytime high temperatures.

Paul J Wescott
Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
July 5, 2019 12:30 pm

Anchorage International is on the coast . See the photo in wiki “Ted Stevens International Airport.”

Dave Fair
Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
July 5, 2019 2:07 pm

High pressure, no wind; everything manmade just sits and bakes. The natural heat sink of Cook Inlet helps cool areas nearby.

Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
July 5, 2019 2:48 pm

Ted Stevens AIA has water directly adjacent to the west and north. This actual data collection site is surrounded by asphalt or recently bared earth on 4 sides and is adjacent to an extremely busy runway and taxiway. Why is anchorage so busy? It is a primary refueling point for air freight between the lower 48 and Asia. The big jets boil into and right back out of Anchorage night and day.

Government Hill, while it is near the water also, and has a few green spots, is also surrounded by the Port of Anchorage, the railroad yard, and sprawling Elmendorf Air Force Base. If there is a 10 degree F delta between GH and Ted Stevens airport a few miles away, then that would be a huge red flag.

Paul J Wescott
July 5, 2019 12:26 pm

The airport in the article’s final two pictures is the one downtown, Merrill Field, not the much larger Stevens Anchorage International where the 90-degree temperature record was recorded.

Gunga Din
July 5, 2019 2:08 pm

I think there is enough evidence to suggest that the “Global Warming” scare was not started in 1988 in Washington DC by Jame Hansen but in 1903 at Kitty Hawk, inadvertently, by the Wright Brothers.

July 5, 2019 2:17 pm

Merrill airfield still exits today and is in regular use. It used to be Anchorages international airport until the one currently referenced in this article was built. So, they are two airports. Not one that expanded in size.

July 5, 2019 2:37 pm

Don’t forget the heat all those heavies burning rubber on landing.


July 5, 2019 2:52 pm

There has also been a low pressure area in the nearby Pacific, feeding warm air from the South, possibly boosted by flows around hurricane Barbara further South-East.

Doug Ferguson
July 5, 2019 2:54 pm

Don’t know about Anchorage, but here in Palmer we are having a heat wave. Record breaking? As others have pointed out it varies depending on where it is measured and who really remembers the previous record.

Recent readings from the Wonderground weather site
show a variance of as much as 5 degrees from the main reading at the airport, to others in the area listed further below on their website. I am not sure where the monitor is located at the airport, but they have recently extended part of the runway, but there is not a lot of other construction going on. The other sites could be lower if they are located in slightly higher elevations. At any rate it’s certainly impossible to come up with an “average” temperature for the region at any point in time.

The main point to remember in Alaska is how new everything is compared to the rest of the U.S. Who knows what the temperature records really were and exactly where they were taken 50 to 100 years ago?

The Ted Stevens Airport contains a fascinating photo display showing the primitive state of the fields in the ’50’s and how it developed to what it is today with the second biggest air freight facility in the world with the largest float plane base in the world next to it.

Palmer was settled as a pioneer farm project during the great depression in the 1930’s as part of the Matanuska Colony project by the U.S. government at the time and didn’t become a city until 1950. The beginning of the airport didn’t start until 1945 and took several years after that before it became more than an improved “Bush Plane” strip.

On top of all that, most urban residents have arrived here only in the last fifty years or so and wouldn’t have much older weather history with which to relate so they buy into any “warming” hysteria. Finally the press here is fully subscribed to the “human caused global warming” idea as is most of our media these days.

Have we really broken records? Who really knows?

Palmer, Alaska

July 5, 2019 3:02 pm

As a point of clarification, Merrill Field, which is shown in two photos above, is a general aviation airport across town from Anchorage International Airport. It was the official weather station for Anchorage but only from 1943 to 1952. All the official temperatures since 1952 are from the International Airport. Also, the north/south runway at the International Airport is currently closed for refurbishment and all take offs and landings are on the two east/west runways.

Reply to  Chuck
July 8, 2019 8:35 pm

Can someone please tell me what’s special about 1943? Station 500285 (Merrill Field) has “period of record” starting in 1914 and it seems to have become a regular weather station in 1931. I note:

(Station metadata starts with the start of 1931)

mark albright
Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
July 8, 2019 8:53 pm

Prior to 1943 the observing site was located about 1.5 miles west of the current ASOS site near the west end of the runway at Merrill Field. HOMR has metadata back to 1914, click the LOCATION DATA tab for more:

Tom Abbott
July 5, 2019 3:03 pm

From the article: “The stage was set by a weather event: a large high-pressure dome centered squarely over Anchorage”

That’ll do it. That’s all that is required to get very high temperatures on the ground. No CO2 necessary.

July 5, 2019 3:13 pm

“I think the location at the airport could have easily added a couple of degrees to the record. Same for the other airport locations of Kenai, Palmer, and King Salmon.”
Well, it’s the same old story of maybe jet exhausts, or construction equipment, or whatever. But that is four airports, nearby, varying amounts of traffic and circumstances, all reporting from 88 to 90 °F. Did all these special circumstances also apply to all of them? Or could it just have been that the temperature was as they measured in agreement?

Larry in Texas
Reply to  Nick Stokes
July 5, 2019 4:19 pm

Yep, Nick, absolutely. Why not? If the thermometers are sited in the same way as the one at Anchorage Airport, why not?

Don K
Reply to  Larry in Texas
July 5, 2019 11:46 pm

My impression is that airport thermometers try to measure the temperature that aircraft will encounter on the runway when taking off. That, I believe, is what pilots need to know in order to compute their maximum takeoff weight. I sure could be wrong about that. I once knew a bit about tracking aircraft, but I know next to nothing about flight or airport operations.

Larry in Texas
Reply to  Nick Stokes
July 5, 2019 4:27 pm

Remember, Anthony also said that there was a big dome of high pressure in the area yesterday. Uh, airport or no airport, that is more like ordinary weather and has little to do with the presence of CO2. Unless you are some kind of genius that can tie everything in individual weather events to all of that. You’re a smart guy, Nick, but I don’t think you are THAT kind of “genius.”

Reply to  Larry in Texas
July 5, 2019 5:28 pm

Yes, hot days are weather events. But weather, domes etc happen year after year. Planes come and go. But this was 4°F higher than anything measured before at Anchorage, planes domes and all.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
July 5, 2019 6:29 pm

Weather domes happen all the time, but they happen different places every time.

Planes come and go, but as the airport gets bigger, more of them come and go than in the past.

Nick, give up before you lose what’s left of your credibility.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
July 6, 2019 5:23 am

A continuing problem with the debate is the meaningless terms used having many meanings to try and prove a single meaningful point

“…than ever measured before”
“Man made”
“climate change”

I’m just a lawyer but if the debate term used is overbroad, vague with many possible meanings…meaningful debate is not possible.and also very natural to be skeptical of those trying to overstate using such terminology

Jack Roth
Reply to  Nick Stokes
July 6, 2019 12:45 pm

Nick, that’s incorrect. Hot high pressure domes do not happen every day in Alaska, especially in South Central, I can tell you that from 30 years of personal experience that this is the first such dome I have seen here. They do happen further north in the Tenana valley, Fairbanks and in the center of what is the largest state in the US, but they are very unusual further south due to many factors. Still a weather event though

Reply to  Nick Stokes
July 5, 2019 5:45 pm

Imagine that, all 4 airports have runways and jets landing and taking off.
Will the wonders of modern science never cease?

And yes, all 4 were under the same high pressure dome at the same time.
Perhaps if you were to take time and actually read the article instead of leaping to defend your pay check, you wouldn’t make so many silly mistakes.

Reply to  MarkW
July 5, 2019 6:36 pm

The question is whether the temperatures recorded were representative, not the meteorology.

I’m not convinced the Kenai reading was at an airport.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
July 5, 2019 9:39 pm

So the snark you posted, was not the snark you meant to post?
Or are you just trying to hide your embarrassment again?

July 5, 2019 5:03 pm

My question? Why does NWS refuse, adamantly, to place monitoring stations 20-25 miles outside major metropolitan areas? Sam’s Club and Costco can sell them the needed equipment at bargain prices and they can start collecting legitimate data nearly instantaneously. Well, there is the time it takes to buy the items and then install them near homes that have wifi, after that it is instantaneous. Why, I bet there are government buildings with continuous wifi within that 20-25 radius that people piggyback on all the time! Its like some sort of “network” or something.

July 5, 2019 5:44 pm

Do we know that the Kenai reading is at an airport? There is a CWOP station here in an ordinary suburban environment that seems to have recorded 89°F.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
July 5, 2019 6:57 pm

Kenai has a CRN site which recorded 87.5F

Jack Roth
Reply to  Nick Stokes
July 5, 2019 7:56 pm

I live near Homer, which is 180 miles or so south of Anchorage. My house is next to Kachemak Bay, and from my living room I see 4 major glaciers that are only a few miles away. This is the warmest I have experienced in South Central Alaska in 30 years, although much further north Fairbanks routinely exceeds 90 degrees in Summer. There is an unusual (for this area) large dome of high pressure over the entire South Central Alaska area, and it was a given that if the high pressure area lasted long enough, records would be broken. Everyone who has a small interest in weather (including the local NWS office) knows that such domes of high pressure tend to be persistent and long-lasting features once they become established. Further remember that at this latitude there is no real darkness, and only 3-4 hours of non-heating at “night”, so just by persisting more than a few days the high pressure dome would ensure that temperatures would continue going up and up. However, considering that the previous record (only 3 degrees lower) was set in 1969 (at the highest extent of pack ice in the 20th century), it’s hard to see this occurrence as anything but weather. And considering that we only have records going back 60 years for Alaska, it seems ridiculous to draw any other conclusion. No one is enjoying this situation here, since any weather above 70 seems like the furnace of hell to us locals, but I was pleased to see that my fellow Alaskans took it in stride and didn’t jump to any global warming conclusions.

Geoff Sherrington
July 5, 2019 6:29 pm

Time for this exercise to be done. The airport at Anchorage seems suited. This is an orders of magnitude exercise to start to assess whether burned fuel has the capacity to change the conventional measured temperature.
1. Outline a volume of air using the area within the airport perimeter and 100 m above it.
2. Using info on aircraft movements, calculate the number of takeoffs and landings on an average 24 hours.
3. Use estimates of fuel consumption per aircraft to each movement.
4. Convert fuel burned into a measure of heat.
5. Distribute that heat through the test volume and estimate the change in temperature that it is capable of causing each day.
6. Do rudimentary sensitivity analysis by altering the main inputs, like altering test volume from 100 m high.
7. See if we are in the ballpark for the assumption that burning fuel makes enough heat to be significant. Geoff S

Jack Roth
July 5, 2019 8:02 pm

Spoke too fast. Apparently they found some idiot “specialist” at the University of Alaska who was very happy to tell the MSM news that the Anchorage record was due to climate change. Thankfully the Governor of Alaska just halved the state’s funding for the University of Alaska system, so maybe some of these “specialists” can go bother some other state.

Terry Jay
July 5, 2019 9:14 pm

No argument with Anthony’s observations, BUT. This is the longest and hottest stretch I have seen in 50 years. Went to Kenai about 2:30 today, it was 67 on the car thermometer, Soldotna was 74 and Sterling was 83. Kenai is on the coast, Soldotna maybe 10 miles inland, and Sterling maybe 35 miles inland. Wind has been W to NW all day. We saw 89 on our thermometer yesterday. Overnight lows are around 60 right now. “Normal” weather for this time of year is drizzle and 62, with 47 overnight.

Jack Roth
Reply to  Terry Jay
July 5, 2019 9:37 pm

I was also in Kenai today, stopped by the Home Depot at around 1230, then went to Soldotna for a sandwich before driving back south to Homer. There was a weak but effective onshore flow in Kenai, which kept the temp pleasant. It was obviously missing in Soldotna, 10 miles further inland. Absolutely no wind or even breeze tonight on the Homer Bluff, even at 2000 feet up temps are about 78 with clear although hazy skies (from swan lake fire) – clearly unusual weather for here, last year at this time I was using my fireplace. But this is probably a once in a half-century event., if not even rarer. Ridge will start shifting north over the next couple of days, allowing some clouds and breezes to reach us, as well as restoring potential for convection by removing cap. But such large features are slow to set up and slow to dissipate, so we will likely have above average temps for at least another week.

Reply to  Terry Jay
July 6, 2019 5:43 am

“This is the longest and hottest stretch I have seen in 50 years. “

Back in the nineties my liberal friend used to base his global warming arguments on how it even feels a lot hotter to him than when he grew up.

Case closed. Temperatures have never been higher since the industrial revolution. We are doomed.

mark albright
July 5, 2019 10:13 pm

The RAWS site (CBKA2, 61.15859, -149.796654) in Anchorage is reasonably well sited away from concrete and they recorded 4 hours of 91 F, but then we also know the RAWS sites have a maximum temperature warm bias of 2 to 3 F. But you can’t rule out a high of 90 F at that location nearly 200 ft south of Science Center Dr. Also Lake Hood (PALH) just to the NE of the airport also reported a high temperature of 90 F. I could not find the exact location of PALH.
04 CBKA2 rw 2156 89 56 116 3 10 0
04 CBKA2 rw 2256 90 57 291 4 9 0
04 CBKA2 rw 2356 91 56 288 4 10 0
05 CBKA2 rw 0056 91 56 283 4 10 0
05 CBKA2 rw 0156 91 56 296 3 7 0
05 CBKA2 rw 0256 91 56 285 3 8 0
05 CBKA2 rw 0356 89 57 301 3 6 0

mark albright
July 5, 2019 10:47 pm

The Merrill Field ASOS (PAMR, 61.21630, -149.85726) is located at the west end of the runway and is surrounded by pavement. They also recorded a maximum temperature of 90 F. Elmendorf AFB (PAED, 61.25055, -149.83786), another 2.5 miles to the north in a less developed area, reported a high temperature of 87 F on 4 July 2019.

mark albright
July 5, 2019 11:06 pm

Go to the Merrill Field climate record:
and on the left scroll down and select “Daily Summary Stats”. This daily summary shows a temperature of 92 in June 1931 and several 90+ temperatures in 1915.

Gunga Din
Reply to  mark albright
July 6, 2019 6:16 am

And under the Max extreme temps it list 100 deg. in June of 1915.

mark albright
Reply to  Gunga Din
July 6, 2019 8:31 am

And in mid July 1915 the temperature reached 90 F at Juneau AK:
This was reported by Tony Heller in this post:

Flight Level
July 5, 2019 11:08 pm

All continental airports temperatures are positively biased with respect to bord instruments. Stuttgart was quite a laugh story with up to +6C, progressively fixed to the usual +2 to +4C over 2015.

Fleet liners provide a worldwide daily haul of more than 150’000 automated temperature readings with precise timing, location, altitude information, even on ground.

I m not sure if any of those automated (AMDAR/ACARS) reports were ever used to detect record breaking high values. This privilege being reserved to fixed ground sensors.

July 6, 2019 7:34 am

I’m in Anchorage and was several miles away to the east. A 4th of July party in a church parking lot with some peripheral tress was sun glaring and bright mostly blue sky, hot at 330 pm. Went in and saw movie, came out at 530, slightly cooler.

Various news sources reported Ted Stevens AP high as 89 degrees and then 90 F. It looks like even 88F might be more representative data, see below. I think data selection vs averaging is a big deal here.

I would look at the airport’s records minute by minute interval for biased reporting:
from Anchorage Daily News:

“International Airport.
The weather service first reported that a record of 89 degrees had been reached in an hourly sampling of airport weather. The actual temperature was 89.1, but it is the weather service’s practice to round to the nearest whole number.

But because the temperature of record is collected at an airport, it is sampled more frequently than on the hour, an NWS official in Anchorage said. Upon evaluation of minute-to-minute temperatures, the weather service said, meteorologists saw that at exactly 5 p.m. the temperature spiked to 89.6 degrees before cooling back down to 87.8 five minutes later.”

mark albright
July 6, 2019 7:50 am

ASOS appears to have a +1 F inherent warm bias on sunny days. Before the newly established Regional Climate Reference Network (RCRN) over AZ, NM, UT, and CO was shut down in 2014 I was able to compare several co-located ASOS and RCRN maximum temperatures from 2010 – 2014. I found the ASOS was consistently too warm by +1 F on sunny days.

Jack Roth
July 6, 2019 8:20 am

Back when I was a kid and I’l lived in the Washington area I remember hearing General Jack Kelly on CSPAN radio. He was head of NWS at the time. The Mid-Atlantic was going through a similar anomalous high pressure dome that had suppressed all rain, and drought conditions were high. NWS had not yet bought into the GOrebal Warming crap, at least not officially, but it was already part of the Washington consciousness. A caller asked General Kelly if such features were part of global warming. I distinctly remember his well though out answer, where he explained that such large ridges are persistent features, and by their very nature hard to dislodge. I’m sure if the same happened today and the asked the same of Uccellini, he would be screaming Climate Change into the microphones.

The Anchorage NWS right from the start knew that such an anomalous ridge would lead to broken records, considering the long period of insolation at this latitude this time of year. Reading the forecast discussion every day you could see the excitement in the words of the forecasters. But no one said it was due to AGW.

The Anchorage NWS Forecast office is honest enough to routinely admit that they do not have nearly enough sounders or local observations to correctly initiatlize the models. In fact, right from the start of this high pressure features, the models have been insisting on breaking it down, which hasn’t happened yet.

The Anchorage forecasters seldom have any confidence in the models past 24 hours, 48 at most. They use blends of ECMWF, GFS and CAN, but they almost always diverge very quickly, and they are almost never able to use high resolution models. There is not enough data up here, not at the surface, and certainly not for upper air. Anyone who blames such conditions on AGW has no idea what they’re talking about.

Doug Ferguson
Reply to  Jack Roth
July 6, 2019 1:13 pm

True enough for local weather folk and broadcasters, however their stations carry all the network crap on CNN, NBC and CBS that most people watch every day and many suck it up. Our one major paper carries Associated Press stories and many stories from the Washington Post, New York Times and other sources supporting AGW and little or none from the other side. Given the heat wave we are experiencing, the average person at the very least is conflicted as to what to think.


Jack Roth
Reply to  Doug Ferguson
July 6, 2019 4:33 pm

Completely agree Fergie. NOAA and NWS management are bought into AGW hoax beyond any hope of coming back. And academia makes sure that the AGW message is also loud and clear in case the government doesn’t do it. I just heard on national news about the Anchorage record, and the next sentence was a quote from a university of Alaska professor who blamed the heat on global warming. Two sentences, one for the record, one for AGW, and zero context. I’m not sure we will be able to convince the average person of anything else, the repetition and attribution to AGW is automatic now, unfortunately. It’s beyond depressing.

July 6, 2019 5:52 pm

For me this looks a bit like what we call in French “une tempête dans un verre d’eau”.

I downloaded yesterday evening the GHCN daily data for

USW00026451 61.1689 -150.0278 36.6 AK ANCHORAGE INTL AP 70273
USW00026563 60.7236 -150.4483 86.0 AK KENAI 29 ENE CRN 70342

The data for July 4 wasn’t there yet, but at least I managed to compare, for their common period 2011-2019, the anomalies of the two stations, and obtained this:


It seems clear that if the Anchorage AP station would show a warming bias, this would be visible when comparing its data to that of the pristine USCRN station Kenai.

Kenai shows temperatures about 2 °C lower than those of Anchorage AP (no wonder when you look in Google Maps at the place it is located), but their trends are nearly identical for 2012-2018 (hum: over 3 °C / decade – no, not per century).

J.-P. D.

Reply to  Bindidon
July 7, 2019 2:18 pm

There’s no sense whatsoever in comparing monthly-average ANOMALIES when the issue is record-level daily Tmax. Nor is it a question of dissimilar short-term “trends.” It’s entirely a matter of greatly warmer INSTANTANEOUS temperatures at locations greatly affected by various UHI factors, versus those relatively free of such non-climatic effects.

That stark difference in LEVELS can come into play even at the SAME location when it urbanizes gradually over time. That’s how most “all-time record highs” are produced in sites settled only for a few generations, which continue to grow.

Reply to  1sky1
July 8, 2019 8:26 am

Stop playing teacher 1sky1, you are completely OT here.

I could of course have created diaily TMAX time series for the two stations, but that requests to generate a daily climatology and daily anomalies, and for that there is for me no reason excepted head posts like this one. Useless work!

Manifestly, you do not seem to read what you reply on, you merely scan it for keys not matching your narrative.

Reply to  1sky1
July 8, 2019 3:47 pm

All the usual hallmarks of inept sermonizing: not only irrelevant to the technical issue at hand, but blind to that very fact.

July 6, 2019 6:25 pm

The earth has been warming for over a hundred years. The trend is upward. Record highs occur at various places at various times depending upon certain weather conditions.
Maybe it was the hottest in the last 70 or so years. Maybe not. It was, unquestionably, unusually hot.
We just do not have the accuracy in the current data and certainly the past data to say so for sure.

For me, I say, a warmer, greener, Alaska is a good thing.

Matt G
July 7, 2019 2:10 am

Airports are often built in rural or semi rural locations so that over decades they usually have there own urban heat island developing with further development built around them. The UHI promotes energy retention slowly released especially overnight resulting in higher minimums than without its presence.

I don’t see the temperature records being any big deal with the above happening plus the state-wide record of 37.8C (100F), was set at Fort Yukon in the state’s north east region over a century ago. The length of timeline too short for records to be anything other than meaningless as records should be regular with similar weather conditions promoting them.

One location reached 37.8C (100F) in the past before, so it’s not impossible that something like this could be reached again in a different location within the same region.

July 11, 2019 11:09 am

I think some of your points challenging this record are weak:
1) The wind being generally from the NW would minimize any artificial warming impact from dark surfaces, jet exhaust etc. on the ASOS sensors. The air only passes over a taxiway. BTW don’t assume air traffic at PANC has increased steadily over the years and use that as an assumption for tainted temperature records. Refueling stops from transpacific and transpolar flights went away years as longer range jets made them unneeded. It was a huge hit to the airport when they lost all that traffic.
2) The Government Hill station you pick to compare with looks like a home weather station so who knows of its accuracy? It is also closer to Knik Arm so would also tend to be cooler.
3) The high temperatures of other official stations in the area are remarkably similar: Lake Hood sea plane base is very close in proximity and on a lake (obviously): 90. Merrill Field (much smaller airport with mostly small plane traffic: 90. Campbell Creek Science Center (farther inland, in the woods, and usually a fair bit warmer): 91. A little farther out Elmendorf AFB: 87, Birchwood: 88. Someone with more time than me can look up some of the coop stations nearby. Regionally Kenai (89), Palmer (88), and King Salmon (89) also were in all-time record status. (Yes they are all at airports. Yes, I realize that airports are not the best climate stations, but what I’m saying is that these three are not busy, built up airports and have undergone dramatic development around them. Even Anchorage dose not fit that description very well, frankly.)
Yes, I concede that there is probably some effect of the pavement around PANC and perhaps some of the other record setters, but now it would need to be compared to the amount of pavement present over years past where you are asserting the records were more reliable. I claim that without evidence to the contrary the changes have not been significant for many years. Remember, to the NW of the PANC ASOS is a park, then the water. To my knowledge the park was created when military use of the land ceased (read more development and activity, though I don’t know about that particular stretch). Perhaps someone can elaborate.
Another factor to look at is the temperature sensors. Mark Albright pointed out studies that showed a 1F warm bias to the ASOS for sunny day high temperatures. Now it would be needed to show that the temperature sensors used in past records you take as more accurate did not have some sort of issue, as is possible with previous electronic sensors such as the HO83 series, and even liquid in glass thermometers (not necessarily the actual thermometers but the screens, the mechanical ventilation for them which often used electric fans inside the shelters, light bulbs, etc) the siting etc.
So it’s not a to-the-degree system for sure, so I’ll give you a degree, but to avoid a new record at Anchorage you have to find 5 degrees of error and that is huge stretch in this case.

July 12, 2019 8:52 am

Kenai and King Salmon also had records of 89 degrees and they are not next to an airport but the water. I guess you forgot to mention that.

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