Climate Highlights and Other News

June 2018

Central Interior Wildfires    

The Zitziana River and nearby Mooseheart wildfires, south of Manley Hot Springs, were started by lightning during the first week June and grew significantly during the following week, when over 100 fire fighters were dispatched to protect property. Smoke from these fires blew into Fairbanks on the evening of June 14, reducing visibility to less than two miles for several hours. The fires were intermittently active through late July, and the Zitziana River Fire finished up burning just under 70,000 acres, the largest single wildfire of the 2018 season. 

Excessive Thunder in Fairbanks    

Fairbanks Airport had eight days in June with thunder. This is more than twice the long term average and the most June days with thunder since 2007. 

Record Warm July at Annette    

The average temperature in July at Annette was 63.9°F (17.7°C). This is easily the warmest July of record (previous warmest was 62.4°F (16.9°C)) in 1958 and just exceeds August 2016 (63.6°F (17.6°C) as the warmest calendar month of record. 

June Snow in the Interior    

Snow fell across some higher elevations of the Interior on the morning of June 12. Falling snow was reported from above 1600' in the hills north of Fairbanks and a light accumulation was noted on Murrphy Dome above 2500' MSL. In Denali National Park 4" (10cm) accumluaed along the road above 3500' MSL. 

Near Record Warm June at Kotzebue    

Very early melt-out of sea ice in Kotzebue Sound, with nearly all the ice gone by the end of May helped boost June temperatures on coastal areas of Alaska along the southern Chukchi Sea. At Kotzebue, the average temperature for the month was  52.9°F (11.6°C). This is more than 7°F (4°C) warmer than normal and the second warmest June of record. Only June 2004 was warmer with an average temperature of 53.4°F (11.9°C). Climate observations have been made with only a few breaks at Kotzebue since 1936. 

Unusual June Snow    

Light snow over the higher elevations of the Glenn Highway between Glennallen and Sutton is not unusual in early June, but overnight Jun 11-12 heavy snow fell above 3000' elevation. At the Eureka Roadhouse, 8 to 10 inches (20-25cm) accumulated. Accumalting snow was also reported over Thompson Pass on the Richardson Highway east of Valdez. 

November 2017 - April 2018 Alaska Climate Dispatch    

In this issue

  • Sea Ice: Winter 2017- 2018
  • Alaska's Changing Snow
  • 2018 Susitna River Ice Jam Flood Impacts on the Alaska Railroad
  • Climate Review Nov '17–April '18
  • News & Events 

May 2018

Record Low Bering Sea Ice Extent    

The 2017-18 Bering Sea ice season drew to a close in May. Like each month since November, the monthly average extent was the lowest in the 40-year record maintained by the National Snow and Ice Data Center. The average daily ice extent this month was only 7 percent of the 1981-2010 average. 

Early River Ice Break-up at Bethel    

Ice on the Kuskokwim River at Bethel went out on the evening of May 2. This ties for the tenth earliest break-up in the past 90 years and is in line with the trend for increasingly early break-ups.  

Alaska Center for Climate Assessment & Policy

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