Climate Highlights and Other News

June 2018

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.  

Record Warm Spring at St. Paul    

The average temperature at St. Paul March through May was 35.7°F (+2.1°C). This ties with 1979 and 1967 as the warmest spring of record. Climate observations have been made at St. Paul, with only a few breaks, since 1915.

Near Record Warm Spring at Utqiaġvik (Barrow)    

The average temperature for March through May at Utqiaġvik (Barrow) was 8.9°F (-12.8°C), This is more than five degrees (F) above normal and makes this the third mildest spring in the past 98 years. The only milder springs were in 1998 and 2016. 

Break-up Flooding Shuts Down Alaska Railroad    

Break-up flooding on the Susitna River north of Talkeetna shut down the Alaska Railroad from May 12 to 16. Flood waters and large chunks of ice, in some places, piled more than seven feet (2 meters) high moved about 1000' of track near Curry. With an estimated price tag of more than a million dollars, Alaska Railroad Corporation crews were able to repair the damage just in time for the start of the enhanced summer rail schedule. 

2018 Break-up of Tanana River at Nenana    

Break-up on the Tanana River at Nenana occurred on May 1 at 1:18pm AKST according to the official Nenana Ice Classic clock. This is very close to the average in recent years but would have been notably earlier than normal prior to the 1960s. 

Alaska Center for Climate Assessment & Policy

2160 Koyukuk Drive, PO Box 757245  |  Fairbanks, AK 99775-7245 map  |   tel 907-474-7812  |  fax 907-474-5662  |  Email

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