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Northern Over-Exposure: Record Heat Wave Envelops Alaska

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"Northern Over-Exposure: Record Heat Wave Envelops Alaska"

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How hot is it up north?

It was so hot that Talkeetna, Alaska hit 96°F on Monday — warmer than Miami — blowing past the previous record of 91°F set in June of 1969 (and matched on Sunday). Talkeetna is the city that the TV show Northern Exposure was supposedly based on.

It was so hot the AP and others simply couldn’t resist headlines like “Baked Alaska: Unusual Heat Wave Hits 49th State.”

It was so hot that Valdez, Alaska hit 90, smashing the previous all-time record of 87 set in June 1953. The National Weather Service issued this release in ALL CAPS (either because they were so fired up by this heat wave or because they issue all such releases in all caps):

EXCITEMENT ABOUNDED THIS AFTERNOON ACROSS NORTHEASTERN PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND AS UNUSUALLY HOT TEMPERATURES WERE FELT ACROSS THE REGION. FOR THE PAST SEVERAL DAYS . . . HIGH TEMPERATURE RECORDS HAVE BEEN TIED OR BROKEN . . . BUT TODAYS TEMPERATURES SOARED BEYOND ANYTHING PREVIOUSLY SEEN IN THIS AREA.

IN VALDEZ . . . THE DAILY HIGH TEMPERATURE RECORD OF 75 DEGREES SET IN 1997 WAS SHATTERED WHEN . . . AT 45 MINUTES AFTER 3 PM…THE MERCURY IN OUR THERMOMETER SHOT UP TO 90 DEGREES. AFTER A BRIEF DIP BACK INTO THE UPPER 80S . . . THE MERCURY AGAIN REGISTERED 90 DEGREES AT 15 MINUTES BEFORE 6 PM.

THIS ALSO CRUSHED THE ALL-TIME RECORD HIGH TEMPERATURE FOR ANY DAY OF THE YEAR . . . AND FOR THE MONTH OF JUNE . . . WHICH WAS 87 DEGREES AND WAS ACHIEVED TWICE . . . ON BOTH THE 25TH AND THE 26TH OF JUNE IN 1953. A LOCAL WEATHER SPOTTER IN TOWN RECORDED A HIGH TEMPERATURE OF 87 DEGREES NEAR THE HOSPITAL DURING THE MID-AFTERNOON HOURS TODAY AS WELL.

SUN-WORSHIPERS WERE OUT IN FORCE THROUGH THE MID TO LATE EVENING HOURS . . . AS THE TEMPERATURE AT 10 PM WAS STILL AN ASTOUNDING 77 DEGREES.

It was so hot that former governor Sarah Palin unquit her job on Fox News just so she would have an excuse to visit the East Coast. Well, maybe that wasn’t the reason, but still, it was friggin’ hot!

Climate Central notes in their story, “Alaska is one of the fastest-warming states in the U.S., largely because the nearby Arctic region is warming rapidly in response to manmade global warming and natural variability. In recent years, Alaska has had to content with large wildfires, melting permafrost, and reduced sea ice, among other climate-related challenges.”

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24 Responses to Northern Over-Exposure: Record Heat Wave Envelops Alaska

  1. wade says:

    Barrow Vice?

  2. Joan Savage says:

    National Weather Service’s flood watch for the Susitna Valley doesn’t mention snow and ice melt explicitly, though Alaskans could be expected to make the connection between extreme warm temperatures and floods.

    “EXTREME WARM TEMPERATURES HAVE RAISED WATER LEVELS ON THE YENTNA
    RIVER AT LAKE CREEK TO BANKFULL AND WATER LEVELS ARE EXPECTED TO
    CONTINUE TO RISE AND MAY REACH MINOR FLOOD STAGE OF 20.5 FEET BY
    EARLY THURSDAY MORNING AFTER WHICH LEVELS SHOULD FALL AS
    TEMPERATURES COOL.”

    • David F. says:

      Joan,

      The Area Forecast Discussion from NWS Fairbanks does mention glacial melt causing the flooding, in fact the previous discussion referred to it as “extreme” glacial melt.

      .HYDROLOGY…FREEZING LEVELS ABOVE 10000 FEET OVER THE PAST WEEK
      CONTINUE TO CAUSE GLACIALLY FED RIVERS DRAINING THE ALASKA RANGE TO
      RISE. TEMPERATURES ARE GOING TO COOL SLIGHTLY BUT GLACIAL RIVERS
      ARE EXPECTED TO CONTINUE TO SLOWLY RISE AND POSSIBLY APPROACH
      BANKFULL IN SOME LOW LOCATIONS ON THE WEEKEND.

      Previous version:

      .HYDROLOGY…FREEZING LEVEL NEAR 12000 FT OVER THE CENTRAL
      INTERIOR AND NEAR 13000 FT OVER SOUTHWESTERN INTERIOR WILL ALLOW
      FOR EXTREME GLACIAL MELT…HOWEVER IT IS UNCLEAR AT THE MOMENT HOW
      THAT WILL TRANSLATE INTO RAPID RIVER RISES.

      • David F. says:

        And, of course, woodland fires continue to be a huge problem up there.

        .FIRE WEATHER…THE DEVELOPMENT OF THUNDERSTORMS OVER NEXT FEW
        DAYS WILL LIKELY INCREASE FIRE STARTS DUE TO THE EXTREMELY DRY
        CONDITIONS CAUSED BY THE LACK OF RAIN AND RECENT HEAT WAVE.

        Previous discussion:

        .FIRE WEATHER…EXTREME HEAT AND DRY CONDITIONS WILL PERSIST ON
        THE WHOLE OVER ALL OF NORTHERN ALASKA FOR MANY DAYS WITH ONLY A
        FEW BREAKS OVER A DAY OR TWO THIS WEEKEND. HEAT IN RECORD
        PROPORTIONS WILL PERSIST.

        As Joe would say, it’s hell AND high water!

    • Joan Savage says:

      Follow up on the Susitna Valley example. Their forecasts are out of Anchorage, on the coast, so that makes them interesting to compare with what David F. found in the forecasts from Fairbanks, about 350 miles inland.

      More explicit Susitna forecast:

      * THE VERY WARM TEMPERATURES OVER THE LAST WEEK HAVE CAUSED
      SIGNIFICANT SNOWMELT RUNOFF IN THE WESTERN SUSITNA AREA. LAKE
      CREEKON THE YENTNA RIVER HAS BEEN RISING STEADILY SINCE EARLY THIS
      WEEK AND IS CURRENTLY AT 19.9 FT. THIS IS 0.6 FT BELOW THE 20.5 FT
      FLOODSTAGE. IT IS FORECAST TO RISE ABOVE FLOOD STAGE LATE TONIGHT OR
      EARLY TOMORROW MORNING BEFORE CRESTING NEAR 20.7 FEET THURSDAY
      AFTERNOON.

      * THERE WAS A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF DEBRIS REPORTED IN THE RIVER AND
      BOATING COULD BE HAZARDOUS. AT FORECAST LEVELS ANGLERS INN & KING
      POINT LODGES WILL LIKELY HAVE WATER IN SEVERAL CABINS.

  3. Jack Burton says:

    It is nice to see such a simple example of how the waves in the jet stream affect the weather in a locality. If arctic melting is destabilizing the jet stream as seems to be the case, more wild weather is in store.
    The UK Met office just held a meeting to review the insanely wild UK weather as of the last year or two. The Jet Stream seems to be the major player. Though they did claim it is due to a natural cycle which will correct in 5-10 years back to a more stable state.
    As usual, they had to through a bone to deniers. Denial is so ingrained that nothing can be allowed to expose the Global Warming effect. Perhaps this is not going to self correct, maybe it will only get worse.
    Why would the natural cycles of weather not be unglued by this huge warming feedback in the Arctic. Answer? No reason at all!

  4. Bart Flaster says:

    Imagine being on a cruise watching glaciers calve!

    I love watching those vids on You Tube.

  5. Robert in New Orleans says:

    With the Alaskan heat wave on full blast right now, it should help to decongest the methane plumes and allow them to freely exhale.

  6. Raul M. says:

    Just got to see the movie “The Age of Stupid”, in the movie there was mention of the methane in the Artic being a sure sign of runaway warming when it starts happening. Gee, the movie was being complementary in saying something about things still going on in 2055.
    I guess that they will keep to saying that all hope is not lost and not mention past tipping points. Still I wonder if they are saying that climate style construction will be possible in a later year on the surface than weather and uv rays will allow.

    • Raul M. says:

      Several have mentioned the need to relocate based on climate change, and further along the need to change building style will become clear. As uv rays are fast moving, coming out after sundown will still be popular.

  7. rollin says:

    I’ll bet the bugs are really loving this.

  8. Jeff Poole says:

    This is what’s going to destroy northern hemisphere agriculture in the next five years or so – not the progressively higher average temperatures of climate change, but the stuck weather patterns resulting from the melting Ice Cap.

    I can only imagine the lunacy that a succession of crop failures will elicit from your fundamentalist politicians.

    Look for the preachers saying it’s god’s punishment for gays/immigrants/women’s cleavage/islam etc etc – then watch that reported while climate science continues to be ignored…

    • You must have read my novel.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      Jeff, the reaction of the Right when the Collapse really kicks in, which looks ominously close, will be horrific. They know no other language or actions but threat, intimidation, coercion, and violence. They cannot admit error, cannot co-operate with others and cannot change. Change for them is death, psychic extinction. They will turn very nasty, and millions of them have been brainwashed into a ferocious hatred of Greens. It will defy logic, decency and rationality, but they will find a way to blame others for the catastrophe, and, then…..’The horror, the horror’.

  9. DanB says:

    Amazing story in the Denver Post about repeated massive dust storms that have ravaged SE Colorado since last November virtually destroying agriculture there. One family recounts a storm that lasted for 15 hours!
    http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_23420681/massive-dust-storms-hit-southeast-colorado-evoking-dirty?IADID=Search-www.denverpost.com-www.denverpost.com

    Mother Nature’s getting angry.

    • Jay Dee Are says:

      Reminds me of a bumper sticker I saw back in the 1970s: “Jesus is back, and he’s pissed!”

  10. Jay Dee Are says:

    For a dose of irony, read this:

    http://www.gov.state.ak.us/admin-orders/238.html

    First paragraph:

    “I, Sarah Palin, Governor of the State of Alaska, under the authority of art. III, secs. 1 and 24 of the Alaska Constitution establish the Alaska Climate Change Sub-Cabinet to advise the Office of the Governor on the preparation and implementation of an Alaska climate change strategy.”

    Today, under Governor Sean Parnell, the sub cabinet is dormant, (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/06/sarah-palin-climate-change_n_2630262.html).

    Somewhere, Nero is laughing.

  11. squidboy6 says:

    This will have grave consequences for fishing and salmon if this pattern remains much longer. It will alter natural cycles just when salmon were already getting damaged.

    It’s not even Summer yet!

  12. As I’ve been saying since 2005, it’s all about the ice cap. Once it inverts from heat reflector to heat absorber, from white to black, from solid to liquid, the jet stream will phase-shift into a chaotic pattern that will resemble slow-motion fibrillation as it seeks a new equilibrium.

    The flow of the jet stream is a function of the temperature differential between the pole and the lower latitudes. The ice cap is its hub. Once that is gone, it will wander the Northern Hemisphere, looking for something to do with all the excess energy that is infiltrating it.

    I’ve been trying to get my Congressperson to write a letter to the CIA and Joint Chiefs, asking them what they are advising the President about the risks of a vanished ice cap. Surely they must understand the implications. That is their job–to anticipate risk.

    Why do this? To bring the issue into public debate and, ultimately, to substantiate the need for WW2-style policies to shift our economy off of fossil with all due speed, and to develop a foreign policy to lead, persuade, pressure, coax, coerce, or otherwise induce others (like China) to do likewise.

  13. BillD says:

    Gee–any chance that we’ve underestimated how fast sea level is going to rise? What happens when we get 90 oF at sea level in Greenland? Of course, we still need to remember the CO2 and methane that will be released from what was the “permafrost” of Alaska, arctic Canada and Siberia.