Tag Archives: ice

Alaska’s November in review

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Data credit: NOAA; Graphic credit: @AlaskaWx

November was a warm month across the State of Alaska.  With the lack of sea ice, Utqiagvik was a staggering 16.1 degrees above normal for the month.  By comparison, Fairbanks was a modest 10.6 degrees above normal for November.

 

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Graph credit: ACCAP

Sea ice in the Chukchi Sea was at the lowest level ever recorded for November.  In fact, sea ice was at such a low level, that it was below the daily average levels for entire summers prior to 2001.

 

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November highlights: Data credit: NOAA; Graphic credit: @AlaskaWx

Some highlights for the month statewide:

The final week of the month hit the village of Bettles, with a record 3-day snowfall of 28.3″.  That same storm also set the 2-day record.

Anchorage, Cold Bay and Kodiak all saw their warmest November on record, while Utqiagvik experienced its second warmest.

On Thanksgiving morning the temperature in Fairbanks was 33F, which is only the seventh time in 116 years that Fairbanks saw above freezing temperatures on that day.

Nome had no snow on the ground during November, yet Chulitna received 78.5″!

Kotzebue continues its streak of above average temperatures for the 27th consecutive month.


Hockey in Fairbanks

Friday & Saturday were Hockey Nights in Fairbanks

Puck about to be dropped on Saturday. Anton Martinsson in net for the Nanooks.


#OptOutside 2019

Just think: No lines, no fighting over the last extra large, no pushing or shoving, or trying to find a parking spot.

Opt to go Outside and explore. Every trail leads to an adventure.

If you happen to be in or near Baraboo, Wisconsin, The Leopoldo Center is holding crane viewing events this weekend.


One long night

Utqiagvik, AK; Image credit: FAA Weather Cam

The sun set over Utqiagvik (Barrow) , Alaska at 1:50pm AST on Monday the 18th of November.

The sun will not rise again over Utqiagvik until 23 January 2020.

Life in the Far North.


Breaking Trail

Snow! Finally, we received a nice dumping of snow.

I have 8-9″ of fresh snow outside my door.

I took the snowshoes out for a spin for the first time this season, which required breaking a new trail. The beavers seem to be content within their lodge and under the ice. Any remaining standing trees should be safe until spring thaw, but I’ll keep checking on them.

Otherwise, it was just a nice afternoon out in the woods, checking out the fresh tracks in the new snow. Which includes, for the first time in a few years, lynx tracks. I’ll have to get a trail cam or two out there.


Revisiting “Normal”

Halloween saw the fourth year in a row where Fairbanks officially had an inch of snowpack. Trick or Treat without bunny boots? The world is in chaos. By the end of the weekend, three inches of snow lay on top of our ice-coated roads.

Sunday morning saw the return of below zero to The Valley. Monday morning, my thermometer read -10F. It’s damn well about time. For those Outside, I’m sure excitement for below zero seems a bit mad, but Interior Alaska is built for below zero. For those who like to stay in the positive, the high temp made it to the mid-teens above.

This isn’t going to help with Alaska’s lack of sea ice. Utqiagvik, on the Arctic coast was above freezing, as was Nome.

But the Interior is at last making ice. For the moment, at least.


Taku Glacier & the Juneau Ice Field

The Juneau Ice Field, as seen from the air

The Juneau Ice Field is located just north of Alaska’s capital city. The ice field covers 1500 square miles, more than a third larger than Rhode Island, and stretches from Alaska across the border into British Columbia. The ice field is home to over 40 large glaciers and more than 100 smaller glaciers. The Juneau Ice Field has been one of the most studied in the world, with the Juneau Ice Field Research Project being conducted annually since 1946.

Taku Glacier, as seen across the Taku River

One of the most talked about glaciers within the Juneau Ice Field has been Taku Glacier. It has been the last advancing glacier within the ice field. It’s “mass balance” has been in the positive; it has been gaining more snow during the coarse of a year than it has lost in melt.

Taku Glacier from the air

Taku is the thickest measured glacier in Alaska. It is considered a high elevation glacier, which has helped it maintain the title of an advancing glacier.

That designation has officially come to an end. With the increasingly warm temperatures that Alaska has been experiencing over the past decade plus, the Taku Glacier is now retreating.

When Taku has calved in the past, it has sent icebergs into the Juneau harbor. Massive calving events would not only send icebergs to Juneau, but also into the Inside Passage.

When Columbia Glacier in Prince William Sound started its retreat, sending icebergs into The Sound, the State of Alaska was forced to create an ice-watch program for oil tankers and cruise ships.

Taku Glacier is twice the size of Columbia.


Pineapple Express

There was a time when I really enjoyed hearing terms like “Pineapple Express” and looked forward to a warm “Chinook” wind blowing through the area.

Now they comes with such frequency, that the deep freeze has replaced them as the rare events in the state.

A Pineapple Express came through Alaska over the weekend. Fairbanks saw rain and temps in the 40’sF. Our dusting of snow took a beating. The ice on The Pond has reverted back to slush.

Bethel on the western coast saw 53F on Sunday morning. The second highest temperature recorded this late in the year.

King Salmon reached 60F on Sunday, breaking their record for the warmest temperature this late in the year.

Not to be left out, McGrath in the Interior hit 50F, which tied their record set 7 years ago.

Utqiagvik on the Arctic Coast will see 38F on Monday, which will do absolutely nothing to help our utter lack of sea ice.

The times, they are a changing…


Frozen till spring


Cat tails