No end in sight to the Alaska cold

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*No end in sight to the Alaska cold*

Overview

Recent winters have been generally warmer-than-normal in Alaska, but the cold this season has been harsh and unrelenting.  The forecast for the next couple of weeks doesn’t look all that promising either as colder-than-normal conditions should persist as we transition from January to February. In general, when Alaska is experiencing colder-than-normal weather for an extended period of time in the winter season, it is usually warmer-than-normal in the eastern US.  Indeed, this adage has been observed this month as warmer-than-normal conditions have persisted in the eastern US while Alaska has shivered. 

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The month of January so far has been well below-normal across Alaska and warmer-than-normal in the eastern US and Canada; map courtesy Weather Bell Analytics, NOAA

Details

After eight years in which winter temperatures have been above average in Alaska, persistent bitter cold has returned and snow is generally at or above the normal levels for this time of year.  It was just a few years ago, in fact, that Alaska’s annual dog sled race, the Iditarod, was in some jeopardy due to a lack of snow in Anchorage.  In March of 2016, they actually had to import snow from outside of the metro area to create enough cover for dog teams to slide through the downtown area.  During this month, the temperature in Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city, fell below zero on 16 of the first 21 days, averaging about 20 degrees below normal.  In Fairbanks, Alaska’s third-most populous city, they have recorded 10 days of minus 30° (F), the longest such stretch since 2012.

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Colder-than-normal conditions are likely to persist into the month of February across the state of Alaska according to the 06Z GEFS 2-m temperature anomaly forecasts; maps courtesy NOAA, tropicaltidbits.com

In terms of snowfall, there have been some significant accumulations despite the bitter cold which can often be associated with relatively dry overall weather conditions.  In Anchorage, for example, more than 5 inches of snow fell earlier this week which has brought their seasonal totals to around 44 inches which is close-to-normal for this point in the winter season.  The interesting thing about the snowfall earlier this week was how light and fluffy it was in the entrenched bitter cold extremely dry Arctic air mass.  The snow/water ratio for the 5 inches of snow was 28:1 which is about 3 times normal for Anchorage.  (The snow-to-water ratio in the eastern US is often around 10:1 and can be even less when there is “wet” snow).  

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The wintry scene in Anchorage, Alaska (photo courtesy AP)

Temperatures were near zero as Friday dawned in the state capital of Anchorage and more bitter Arctic air is moving into the region after a slight relaxation during the past couple of days. Temperatures as low as double digits below zero are likely by the early part of next week and could drop to as low as 50° below in interior sections of Alaska.  In fact, all indications are that colder-than-normal weather conditions will continue for at least the next couple of weeks.

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One final note, yesterday marked the 49th anniversary of the lowest temperature ever recorded in Alaska and in the US.  On January 23, 1971, the temperature dropped to -80° (F) at Prospect Creek which was the location of a construction camp during the building of the Alaska pipeline.

Meteorologist Paul Dorian
Perspecta, Inc.
perspectaweather.com

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114 thoughts on “No end in sight to the Alaska cold

    • Yep, beautiful image but it makes me cold to look at it.

      On January 23, 1971, the temperature dropped to -80° (F) at Prospect Creek which was the location of a construction camp during the building of the Alaska pipeline.

      Yes, but that is “uncorrected” data, we know that the 1970s cooling only existed in the 1970s before they learnt how use thermometers. Once appropriate corrections are made it was simple a “plateau”.

      There are animations of the various version of GISS data showing how our brave climate warriors were able correct this spurious “cooling” of the planet and correct the data to fit what computer models indicate it should be.

      Please stop promoting such uncorrected data recorded by homophobic oil workers. How can someone infected by white privilege and bigotry be expected to read a thermometer properly ??

    • My condolations too; my wife and I are currently climate refugees at the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands. (Not very hot here either though, but better than at home…. 😎 )

      • Nonsense! Ten days below -34C is exactly what you’d expect from global warming. Simon, Nick, and Loydo will explain. In a warming world we must expect colder extremes that last longer.

        “Shut up!”, she explained.

    • Shall I put this in context.
      Well I will anyway.
      This is how Alaskan temperatures have moved this last 40 years ….
      http://climate.gi.alaska.edu/sites/default/files/ClimateTrends/Annual_AK.png

      This is how Arctic-wide temps have fared so far this year ….
      http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/meant80n.uk.php

      And this is current Temp anomalies over the rest of the NH ….
      https://climatereanalyzer.org/wx_frames/gfs/ds/gfs_nh-sat1_t2anom_1-day.png

      Plus UAH V6 LT has the NoPol at +0.66 in Dec.

      • So Anthony, what was happening in the centuries before 1920?
        Apparently, there was this year-round passage around the Arctic.
        And a near-tropical place called “Greenland”
        But then things cooled down for a few hundred years.
        But that will most likely change again. And again. And again. And again . . .
        You get the picture?

      • Exactly Anthony. The headline “No end in sight to the Alaska cold” is wrong because weather and seasons ends – in a few months – because that will be spring. What has “no end in sight” is the climatic trend of a rapidly warming Arctic.

        Also, according to the Weatherbell January anomaly map above, the vastmajority of North America – from the Arctic to Barbados – shows a strongly warm anomaly. Mass Protanomaly?

          • Surface wind changes and short term, regional anomalies are caused by the weather. The global, multi-decadal warming trend is climate change. Hot records out-numbering cold records is too.

            Sooner or later, if not already, the higher energy and water vapour content of the atmosphere will result in pressure pattern changes and we will see not only warmer average temps but also large-scale weather pattern changes. Expanding Hadley cells, a more meridional circumpolar vortex and more persistant blocking patterns for example. Throw in more intense El Ninos and more negative IOD events for good measure, all predicted to increase as a consequence of increasing CO2 concentration, predicted and observed.

          • goldminor January 26, 2020 at 12:00 am

            So what is driving those surface wind changes which are causing the above average winter temps?

            ____________________________________

            Goldminor, it’s not those driving surface wind changes which are causing the above average winter temps.

            In fact it’s the Arctic below average winter temps that are driving those surface wind changes.

        • Loydo, little chance.

          Protanomaly – blue and some green cones are normal plus some anomalous green-like cones.

          (1 percent of Caucasian males )

      • “Plus UAH V6 LT has the NoPol at +0.66 in Dec.”

        Right, that does it for me. I’m going to put on a mask and get out in the streets and be an “activist”, until we have a global phony-socialist government that will stop us all from dying from Arctic temperature anomalies. Who’s with me and Anthony the Apostle?

        Come on you right-wing redneck retard Trumpsters, we can get back to Little Ice Age temperatures within at least 200 years by getting atmospheric CO2 levels down to 280 ppm again. The science says so.

        • philincalifornia,

          It’s not that we can get back to Little Ice Age temperatures within at least 200 years

          by getting atmospheric CO2 levels down to 280 ppm again. The science says so.

          Instead it’s that going back to Little Ice Age temperatures freezing flora and fauna to death

          that within at least 200 years atmospheric CO2 levels get down to 280 ppm again.

          But let “science say so”.

    • All three of them, Simon, Nick, and Loydo, are standing in a tub of ice water with their hair on fire to prove it hurts more to be on fire than cold. Wait for their admission. This is not sarcasm.

      • Anyone standing in a tub of ice water with their hair on fire must, on average, be quite comfortable.

        • Anyone standing in a tub of water with their hair on fire must, on average be quite insane. (actually I might expect them all to be completely bonkers)

          • Loydo January 26, 2020 at 2:18 am:

            Rocketscientist was talking about anyone standing in a tub of water which must, on average, be quite insane.

            YOUR frogs in a saucepan mostly sit. There’s little “standing” frogs. On average.

  1. Its cold in Britain as well, flu season is well under way, and even our dear queen has a cold…

    I was hoping for warm weather as according to the worlds leading scientists aka U.N and greta, the world is on fire 😥

    • Its cold in Britain as well, flu season is well under way, and even our dear queen has a cold…,/i>

      Really? January is currently nearly 3 degrees warmer than the 1961-90 average.

        • JF: Blatant misuse of Cycles. Brett

          The 1961-90 period includes warmer years during the 1980s. As it happens the 1960s in the UK weren’t that much colder than the 1940s – certainly not 3 degrees colder.

      • Iceland has been cold because of the strong positive AO and polar vortex but Scandinavia and the rest of NW Europe has been mild. We have been on the warm side of the jet stream for most of the winter with high pressure to our south pulling up warmer air from further south there are signs that the Jet stream will move to the south of the UK soon.

  2. What’s this going to do to ‘polar bear ice’?

    There was a ditty AccuWeather played on the hour (this last year) decrying how PBs were ‘foraging on land’ on account of the lack of ice …

  3. There will be an ice bridge between Greenland and Island, last seen 200 years ago.
    Global warming seems more to be cold.

  4. To keep things clear, it would be nice if posts like this specified the temperature scale when giving readings, just for us who’ve been on Celsius for some time now.

  5. As if there were an ‘average’. There is no meaning in ‘average winter’. Winters vary from year to year, and that is why they ‘average them’. Then they breathlessly worry when the season deviates from the ‘average’.

  6. “There will be an ice bridge between Greenland and Island, last seen 200 years ago.”

    I assume you meant between Greenland and Iceland. Here is an article that discusses such ice bridges …

    Little Ice Age led to migration of island hopping arctic foxes – Durham University
    https://www.dur.ac.uk/news/newsitem/?itemno=15280

    (snip)

    Little Ice Age led to migration of island hopping arctic foxes
    (12 September 2012)

    The Little Ice Age allowed a new wave of arctic foxes to colonise Iceland, according to new research.

    A “bridge” of sea ice appeared during a dip in temperatures between 200 to 500 years ago allowing arctic foxes to migrate to Iceland from different Arctic regions including Russia, North America and Greenland.

    The researchers, led by scientists at Durham University, said their findings showed the importance of sea ice in creating and maintaining the genetic population of the arctic fox across the polar regions where the animal is found.

  7. The subtropical jet stream is coming into the U.S. from west to east and is what is keeping the lower 48 states fairly warm. I’m loving this weather! Here we are in the coldest part of the winter and it is barely down to freezing here early in the morning.

    And no, it’s not global warming, it’s the jet stream coming off the Pacific ocean.

    Note the circulation around Alaska. It’s keeping the cold arctic air bottled up there.

    https://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/isobaric/500hPa/orthographic=-109.46,47.47,660

  8. Steyer and the Weather Channel will save the planet, bringing environmental justice for all…they’ll need your money of course as they will not spend their own on their cause….I see a justice tax looming large.

    • meiggs January 25, 2020 at 5:06 am

      [], you see a justice tax looming large –

      That tax is already in effect.
      ____________________________________

      – If a convict cannot pay the penalty.

      – If a convict cannot pay the damage caused.

      – If a convict cannot pay the legal counsel.

      Then the taxpayer pays.

    • No, they’re all just fake-crying and fake-wringing their hands about the stifling mildness in the east US (where much of the corrupt goobermint swamp/regulatory-complex lives).

  9. To quote the popular song, “It’s always 5 o’clock somewhere”. Ditto with weather .. it’s always colder than normal somewhere, and it’s also always warmer than normal somewhere.

    Of course, using the term “normal” is weird and unscientific. There is no such thing as “normal” weather. There is only prevailing weather, and statistical means of measurables like temperature, precipitation, wind speeds and directions, air pressure, and humidity.

    Nothing is “normal” – every thing just “is” and can be compared to what is prevailing and the means of the variable measurables of weather. It is “normal” for weather to vary tremendously from the mean.

    • I have been saying the weather and climate just “is” for a long time. I do my best to caution myself and others to not get trapped into the false narrative and reality of “Supposedbelandia”. The universe i.e. nature is only “is”.

    • The scoop: the word ‘normal’, perhaps ought not to be used. However the term “Climate Normals” is a well-defined term used by meteorologists and other weather geeks.
      The “30 year” thing came from meetings in the 1930s when weather folks were trying to find a more-or-less common way of presenting data that could be compared to historical weather known by the local reader of newspapers. They chose 30 years and called the averages “Climate Normals.”

      Remember this was before modern computers so recording readings, summaries, and averages was time consuming.

      During the meeting (I think 1935 in Warsaw) the folks settled on a 30 year average with the spans beginning with a year where the last digit of the first year is ‘1’ and the last digit of the ending year is ‘0’.

      We thus have “Climate Normals” for the spans of 1961-1990, 1971-2000, 1981-2010, 1991- 2020… the last appearing in mid-2021.
      https://www.weather.gov/grr/climatenormals

      Much like the 1.5° or 2° choice of a critical rise in temperature, or the 97% consensus, or the 1 M. sq. Kms = “ice free Arctic”, the ’30’ in the notion of defining climate is a just a number.

      Climates (note the ‘s’) are better defined by vegetation boundaries, as was proposed by Wladimir Köppen about 1900.

      • That is interesting. What I have learned though over the years is that nature does not correlate with the concept of the 30 year trend starting in years ending with “1”. Imo, the trend pattern in nature is set at years which end in “6, 7, possibly 8”. That is where one can find the cyclical trends from warm to cool.

        The most clear example of this from what I can see is Silso’s hemispheric excess sunspot graph. As a result I pinned the shift points for the 30 year trend pattern at 1946/47 to 1976/77, and 1976/77 to 2006/07. So factors favoring cooling started around 2006/07. This does not translate to an immediate cooling though as excess heat from the above average warm trend of 1976/77 to 2006/07 has to bleed out of the oceans. That is a slow process given the ability of the ocean to store heat. … http://www.sidc.be/images/wnosuf.png

        Also with the above 30+ year trend points in mind note what the MEI shows in relation to that. The 30 year cool trend has a greater number of strong negative/La Nina episodes, and the reverse holds true for the next 30 years. So here is an interesting new thought which occurred to me recently. The ENSO regions do not average out over time on their own. It is the 30+ year trend of excess sunspots between hemispheres of the sun which cause the ENSO regions to average out over time, with the exception of physical forces causing surface waters in the Pacific to move from west to east and back again by gravitational force.

      • That’s why meteorologists and climate scientists are not “normal” scientists. Every other scientific discipline eschews the use of the prejudicial term “normal”, and instead uses terms like “prevailing”, “mean”, and other statistically testable terms. Psychiatrists and psychologists long ago ditched the term “normal”, instead recognizing the wide variability in human thinking and behavior.

        The climate weenie people need to ditch their medieval religiosity, and adopt rational, modern scientific methods, thinking, and terminology.

    • Duane

      It is “normal” for weather to vary tremendously from the mean.”

      It isn’t ‘normal’ for anything constrained by physical laws to vary ‘tremendously’ from those laws. Any such variation requires an explanation.

      TFN

  10. Not a problem, remember climate doom plays the, heads I win tails you lose, game so colder is the same as warmer. Indeed you ask what does not ‘prove’ climate doom , and to that you will get no answer.

    • .. or the ‘alarmists’ could point to the much larger area to the East (Canada & US) which seems to have temperature anomalies which 5+ degrees above normal.

      • All caused by directional changes in surface wind patterns. What causes that? It most certainly is not CO2 related.

        • The fact that there are more areas which are warmer than normal is almost certainly CO2 related.

          I am happy to accept that CO2 warming might not be “catastrophic” but I’ve been paying close attention to both regional & global temperature trends for at least 15 years. I was initially sceptical of a significant AGW effect but we can’t keep blaming ENSO cycles and shifting weather patterns to explain the clear and obvious trend.

        • John Finn, your

          “but we can’t keep blaming ENSO cycles and shifting weather patterns to explain the clear and obvious trend.”

          – is due to “coming out of a LIA, out of a Little Ice Age event!”

  11. Speaking of the Iditarod, perhaps they should consider saving their excess snowfall this year in a snow “bank” in order to make up the deficit next century….

    • Snow deficit … next century.

      Sure the provider of “Denali Classic snow-shoes” still has other irons in the fire.

  12. Climate science is that crazy discipline where most of today’s practitioners have lost basic understanding of statistics of average (mean) and variation (sd).

    If a teacher said the latest average on a test she just gave her class was 85 (out of a possible 100pts), nobody would flinch. That sounds pretty reasonable. If she said one person got a 100, a few more got in the 90’s, and some got 70’s and several ‘class slackers’ got a 50 to 60, where most got 80’s, then everyone would agree that is “normal” (distribution). Neither the 50 nor the 100 would anyone find unprecedented.
    But if the same teacher then said, every got a 85 (the average), then from our intuition, we’d all know instantly that either the teacher (1) wrote a very poor test, or (2) everyone cheated with the same “answers.”

    Now today when climate pseudo-scientists talk about “unprecedented” weather and they cite some extreme from an “average”, it’s like they want everyone to forget the basic statistics of mean and variation we all intuitively learned in primary school test taking. The climate hucksters and carnival barkers simply are banking on the lack of long-term history about weather extremes from a 100+ years of recorded weather data.

  13. Yeah, have been watching Alaska on Climate Reanalyzer. Lack of southerly winds there is promoting easterly winds & continental air that radiates heat away in the long night w/little water vapor or clouds to stop it. Often a cold Alaska means relatively mild here in the US central Appalachians, tho it isn’t particularly mild here in rural areas away from urban heat-islands. It’s weather…..

    • Did your observations on Climate Reanalyzer extend further than Alaska? For instance, did you notice that the northern hemisphere in general is currently +0.9 C warmer than the 1979-2000 average for the time of year? Or that much of Canada, the UK and Siberia are well above average temperature at the moment? No? Let’s stick to Alaska alone, shall we? Specifically. At least until it gets warmer again, anyway.

      TFN

      • Yes, I did see those things. Hallelujah! Above avg in the cold, miserable winter in my experience is good.

      • To add, did your own observations see that Reanalyzer uses 1979-2000 as their anomaly base — 1979 being right at the end of a cool period? Huh. Additionally, it used to be standard NWS practice that averages were based on the most previous decadel 30-yr period. So why, if they’re going to start in 1979, at least make the base 1979-2010?

        Odd, isn’t it?

        • That basically means that they start at a low and end a bit after a well above average peak which was the well above average 1997/98 El Nino. No wonder why they like that as the mean.

  14. Generally don’t hoarfrost that thick unless it has been before zero for a while. The good news is that the days keep getting longer and only a couple months of cold left. Coldest winter in 3 years, though.

    No permafrost here in ANC, though the ground generally freezes down to 9′ or so. Takes a while to thaw. Snow on top acts as an insulator. Winter of ’97 had all the early snow as rain. Got cold in early Nov and stayed cold. Ground froze to around 12″. By mid-Jan the expanding frozen ground was decapitating fire hydrants around town as it pushed up on the collar connecting it to the feed pipe. Finally got snow in Feb with a 3′ dump.

    The warmer winters, you get a lot of ice which makes driving (and walking) exciting. When it is really cold, the snow doesn’t compress into ice and the roads are generally pretty decent. Cheers –

  15. Who would have thought that it is cold in Alaska in the winter? I keep Barrow in my log of weather sites ever since I visited Alaska a couple of times a few years ago, just to maintain perspective on what is really winter.

  16. I wonder if the cold will get the kind of attention as the blob has.
    It goes on and on with the blob.
    Look at this.
    Sure seems like another BS attribution.
    https://www.oregonlive.com/environment/2020/01/unprecedented-marine-heatwave-likely-killed-1-million-west-coast-seabirds.html

    ‘Unprecedented’ marine heatwave likely killed 1 million West Coast seabirds
    At least 62,000 seabirds, and possibly as many as 1 million, died along the West Coast between summer 2015 and spring 2016, researchers said in a study published this week, and they believe they’ve found the cause for the “unprecedented” die-off.

    Scores of common murres, one of the most prolific seabirds, washed up on beaches, and many were emaciated, the researchers said. The cause? A persistent and intense marine heatwave that became known as “the blob,” a wide swath of the northeastern Pacific Ocean with waters several degrees above average.

    More: https://www.oregonlive.com/environment/2020/01/unprecedented-marine-heatwave-likely-killed-1-million-west-coast-seabirds.html

  17. “Recent Winters Have Been So Warm, Alaskans Have Forgotten How to Be Cold: After years of milder temperatures (well, relatively), the state finds itself back in the deep freeze”
    https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-cold-is-it-in-alaska-the-sled-dogs-are-wearing-booties-11579799359

    “Even the sled dogs are wearing coats, along with their booties. “It’s so cute, they just love it,” said DeeDee Jonrowe, handler for a team that recently trained in temperatures that never rose above minus 37 degrees. “They sleep in the coats too, with an extra blanket.”

    “Military families who have relocated to the Far North have registered their concerns over children’s outdoor activities to local schools. But unlike in the Lower 48 states, classes rarely are canceled for bad weather. Indeed, schools in the 13,700-student Fairbanks North Star Borough School District hold outdoor recess until it gets to 20 below. “We tell [parents] you just can’t stay inside all winter,” said Superintendent Karen Gaborik. “The kids and staff complain vehemently when they have to go inside.”

    “Some hardy souls scoff the latest cold isn’t quite what it used to be. In decades past, Fairbanks, located in interior Alaska, routinely dove below minus 50 degrees and hit an all-time recorded low of negative 66 in 1934, said Rick Thoman, a climate specialist with the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The school has an outdoor digital thermometer that people recently posed in front of wearing bathing suits. This winter, Mr. Thoman said, Fairbanks has “only” dipped below minus 40 four times. “No one in 1955 would be impressed with those numbers,” Mr. Thoman said.

    • Can Mr. Thoman say UHI, or is he just being obtuse. It doesn’t help the average temp when we have 12 hourly readings with no winds and a temp of -40f and all of the sudden temp is 0f with a breeze of 12 mph for 1 reading, then goes back to -40f. Can you say jet wash at the airport. I could not get NWS to check or change the value.
      Sorry, I no longer trust them as record keepers.

      • Sorry, I no longer trust them as record keepers.

        Numbers are the very first thing propagandists/idealists/socialists go after.

  18. It will be interesting to see if when they “fill in” the temperatures of the Arctic that have no direct measurements if they use these land temperatures as proxy or invent something new because it ruins their story.

  19. It is colder than average in Alaska at the moment, for the time of year. Therefore ‘global warming’ is a scam. I see.

    TFN

    • wadelightly,
      Indeed! There are some ‘anomalously’ linear thinkers in this decidedly cyclical world. Or perhaps they are just ‘average’ or ‘normal’, for linear thinkers that refuse to acknowledge a cyclical world?

    • wadelightly,

      This “climate cycling between warm and cold”

      is why it’s called “climate”. Weird.

  20. “Temperatures were near zero as Friday dawned in the state capital of Anchorage …” The capital of Alaska is Juneau not Anchorage.

  21. If it’s unusually cold in Alaska this winter, it’s a good time to send some “climate observers” up there to report on global warming and the plight of the polar bears (they might not find too many if the bears are hibernating in their dens).

    They might learn something about average temperatures. Sometimes it’s warmer, and sometimes it’s COLDER.

  22. Greg, you can ask personally them homophobic oil workers from 1971

    in old people’s care institutions or directly at the graveyards:

    “How can someone infected by white privilege and bigotry be expected to read a thermometer properly ??”

  23. During that many holidays, Christmas and New Year’s Day, many people write bored, long papers.

    Full of prejudice and self-righteous.

    Actually, it’s a shame to read all this time consuming stuff costing bare roaming fees.

    ____________________________________

    Think I already said that.

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