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The 14-day outlook through June 29 from the national Forecast Prediction Center

Two years after Alaska’s warmest year on record, weather conditions have returned to something closer to normal in the far north.

The National Weather Service was issuing frost warnings for the Fairbanks area Monday night. The Eureka Lodge on the Glenn Highway in the Talkeetna Mountains was reporting 6- to 7-inches of new snow that same day.

To the north on the Denali Highway, it was snowing at the McClaren River on Sunday night, though the temperature remained just above freezing. A seasonal road, the highway itself was late in opening this year.

The reason? Too much snow to be moved in May.

Cue the late country singer Johnny Horton: “When it’s springtime in Alaska it’s forty below….”

Alaska has been warming for six decades, but the degrees of change to date remains small compared to the extremes of year-to-year climate variation. And the cold temperatures now being witnessed are within the normal extremes of variation.

It’s something to be expected even in a warmer Alaska.

“If a linear trend is taken through mean annual temperatures, the average change over the last six decades is around 3.0° Fahrenheit,” according to the Alaska Climate Center. Warming has been greater along the Arctic coast, but even there the 6.3 degree jump since 1949 easily hides within normal fluctuations.

A little less than six and a half degrees is nothing in a state where the high and low on an average day varies about twice as much. Still, here in the fabled “Seward’s Icebox,” Alaskans can’t help noticing when the weather turns unusually friendly on the warm side.

And Alaskans got treated to a couple very nice summers in 2015 and 2016 that left some thinking global warning had arrived in force.

A paper published by the American Meteorological Society in January poured cold water on that idea. It concluded 2015 and 2016 were anomalies, although they are expected to return again as the climate continues to warm.

“A strong El Niño with a positive Pacific Decadal Oscillation (warm) phase, together with preconditioning of the waters during 2014/15 and the anomalous atmospheric circulation of early 2016, made for a ‘perfect storm’ of marine heating around Alaska,” wrote John Walsh and a gang of more than a dozen colleagues.

The mainland enjoyed the fallout.

That is history now. May 2016 averaged 52 degrees – more than 4 degrees above normal – and the temperature twice hit 72. The warmest day this May peaked at 64 and the average was near normal at 48.4.

June is generally tracking May with little hope at the moment of a 78 degree day as on June 16, 2016. The national Climate Prediction Center is, in fact, predicting below normal temperatures for most of the state through most of the rest of the month.

That’s in line with the last few days to the north of Alaska’s largest city, although the Ntional Weather Service is predicting the temperature in Anchorage could go as high as 75 on Thursday before falling back into the mid-60s or colder.

The warmest day so far was 64 degrees. June 1, 2016 topped that at 66, and from June 7, 2016 on through the end of the month there were only three days with a high temperature below 64. 

Oh, the good old days.

For better or for worse, Walsh and teams of scientists do predict they will be back:

“…2016 will become common in the coming decades,” the scientists wrote. “Given the many impacts of the 2016 anomaly, the future climate projected here will result in a profound shift for people, systems, and species when such warm ocean temperatures become common and not extreme in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering regions.”

Until then, though, the Alaska of the old days will reign, meaning snow is possible in any month especially at elevation. And the Climate Prediction Center’s forecast map through June 29 has a big, cold circle of blue centered over the state.

Dig out the fleece.








31 replies »

    • Here is a “money quote” from your link, Steve.
      “THOSE who doubt the power of human beings to change Earth’s climate should look to the Arctic, and shiver.”

  1. Strange how when the weather changes in favor of anthropogenic global warming it’s because climate change, but when the weather change is not in favor of anthropogenic climate change it’s just weather. Strange how when the climate changes in favor of anthropogenic global warming it’s because climate change, but when the climate change is not in favor of anthropogenic climate change it’s just weather.

    The Earths climate changed before people, it changed before people started using fossil fuels, and it will change after people are gone and we no longer use fossil fuels. Look up the Younger Dryas, the Older Dryas, the Oldest Dryas, the Pleistocene epoch, and when the last glacial maximum extended from. The Earth was warming and glaciers were retreating, and even advancing, long before people started using fossil fuels in any measurable quantities.

    • Were you trying to tell us something, Steve-O?
      Your first sentence was repeated once-was that because you felt it was something profound? Actually it doesn’t make any sense as weather tends to be something entirely different than climate change and weather change (in favor or not in favor of climate change) doesn’t make a lot of sense either since weather is changing all the time.
      What is important about anthropogenic global warming is its amount, relative to natural warming, IMO. Here is a quote that attempts to place the amount of human caused warming: “almost two-thirds of the impacts related to atmospheric and ocean temperature can be confidently attributed to anthropogenic forcing” from

      Now 2/3 of total warming being human caused is not exactly chopped liver. And, that is what is causing the issues for species trying to adapt to these changes. Whether/not species can adapt is a huge issue IMO. You may not think its something to be concerned about but many do.

      • Bill,
        I learned a long time ago that when someone else is talking it’s a good policy to listen to what they say before responding. I think this can be pretty well universally transferred to reading what someone wrote. Perhaps you should read what was written before commenting, you might just find out that you can learn something that way.

        By the way my first sentence wasn’t repeated.

        Reading is fundamental.

      • I stand corrected Steve-O. However Climate doesn’t change in favor (or not in favor) of anything-it just changes. Perhaps you are trying to say that you know of some climate change that doesn’t show human caused warming? We all know of climate change that shows much human caused warming.
        Give us an example of world climate change (in the last say 40-50 years where it shows no human caused warming! Go ahead and take your time.

      • Bill,

        You somehow manage to read things that weren’t written and you somehow manage to not read things that were written, that’s a special kind of talent.

        Look up the Younger Dryas, the Older Dryas, the Oldest Dryas, the Pleistocene epoch, and when the last glacial maximum extended from. The Earth was warming and glaciers were retreating, and even advancing, long before people started using fossil fuels in any measurable quantities.

        I’m not going to waste my time or yours posting links to websites you won’t look at.

        Your last paragraph makes no sense.

      • Steve-O, the only thing that’s important is the human caused warming that’s contributing to climate change. I’ve given you the statement that approximately 2/3 of warming is caused by humans. Nobody cares about the warming or cooling that took place eons ago.
        My last paragraph didn’t make sense to you because you don’t understand a thing about what you are talking about. There is natural force warming and human caused warming. I simply asked you to give us an example of warming in the last 40-50 years that didn’t have any human caused warming.
        Go ahead and give it another try. You won’t be able to find any, by the way.
        Why do you suppose that is??

      • Bill,

        The reason your last paragraph made no sense is because you do not know how to write. You have demonstrated repeatedly your inability to read and comprehend what it is you are reading.

        Saying that “the only thing that’s important” and “Nobody cares about the warming or cooling that took place eons ago” only further demonstrates that you do not understand what you are reading or even referring to.

        Listen man, I know you want to win the internet, or at least win Craig Medreds blog. I’m not here to make you look stupid, I just want to help you understand that you are failing at whatever it is you are doing. I’m not trying to convince you to believe anything, just look into whatever it is that you are reading and believing to a point that you are insulting complete strangers, for no reason.

        Look up the Younger Dryas, the Older Dryas, the Oldest Dryas, the Pleistocene epoch, and when the last glacial maximum extended from. Add in snowball earth and the Maunder Minimum. For the love of god, don’t take my word for anything look it up for yourself, just please stop being such a useful idiot.

        Look up the word eon while you are at it, it doesn’t mean what you think it means…or if it does, you don’t know what or when the Dryas occurred, or when the Pleistocene epoch was, or when the last glacial maximum was. Do yourself a favor and spend more time searching for information and less time forcing your information on others, please.

      • I’m not trying to win anything Steve-O, just trying to get you to explain yourself, relative to human caused warming. You’ve beat around the bush for some time now and still rely on things like the last ice age, etc. to avoid my simple question.
        As for Pleistocene, I’ve been quite interested in its demise and how it altered North Slope animals but that doesn’t really have a thing to do with my question to you, either. All of that’s interesting in its own right but hasn’t a thing to do with the climate change that’s being caused by humans and their burning of fossil fuels. It’s (Pleistocene) demise certainly caused a lot of species to go extinct but so what?? Humans were around then but had nothing to do with any climate change back then and were not even on the North Slope.
        If all you have to say is that you don’t believe in “human caused warming”, just say it rather than beat around the bush. If you are waiting on another Dryas to pull us out of our present predicament, anything is possible but I’m unwilling to bet on Nature (somehow) stepping in to save our bacon.
        At this point the concern is for many species that seem unable to adapt to the increased changes that has occurred to their habitats, due to our “increased” global warming from human causes. I don’t know if we can solve our problems, here, and I suspect your throwing around your encyclopedic words means that you don’t know either. Reading between your lines gives me the feeling that you are willing to wait and see what Nature brings, as has been the case for the entire history of the Earth. That’s certainly one way to handle this situation but I’m of the opinion that we can help fix much of what we’ve caused (certainly by the cleaning up of fossil fuel burning), without too much economic stress.
        If, in fact, we are contributing 2/3 of the warming that’s occurring now, it may be possible to reduce that by say half-that may be enough to allow most species, that are struggling now, to adapt to their changing conditions. Obviously there could be some economic push-back from some established industry but that’s nothing new from changes that occur all the time.
        Not sure why you have to take this as a “pissing match” but that’s what its become and we seem to be wasting each other’s time-too bad.
        The issue is important IMO and the “importance” is due to “human caused climate change,” and doesn’t rely on Dryas, Pleistocene, or any of the other terms (or even Maunder minimum) you drag up.

  2. What’s really interesting to me is the coincidence of late / low salmon numbers coincide with this years low Alaska temps . Are the salmon in a wait and see mode ? Sensing low temps ,Will they skip a year or flood in when it’s warmer ? Or are they all starved out like the anti pink hatchery crowd thinks ? Due to over releases? What we see in a couple years will be very interesting! Are their any correlation low numbers with low temps in the past ? My question is why our state would subsidize a high risk practice of high pink release for minimal returns and put our money fish at risk . Looks fishy imo .

    • Rayme,

      Every time I see your “Truth” handle comments, I am reminded of a quote by Lord Byron…
      “Truth is always strange, stranger than fiction”.

      • Steve that does seem to often be the case ! I’m not very familiar with Byron . Sometime you will have to explain him to me . Yesterday’s affairs underline your statement I believe. Trump, Rodman , Kim and nukes . To me is truth stranger than most fiction. Side note is I’m not a detractor of global warming concept. Though I do think it’s inadequately clarified . As their are to many actors effecting the earth for our current science to apply them all accurately.

  3. The climate change industry is no different than big oil, big pharma, big tobacco, etc. A multi billion dollar industry that gets paid to prove and perpetuate it’s own theories. It’s alright to be a bit skeptical, Bill.

    • Nothing wrong with being in the skeptical column, Jason. I was just pointing out where you seemed to be confusing weather with climate.
      And that industry (climate change) would not be getting paid without something to say IMO. I will also get out in front of my skis, here, and say you don’t have a good grasp on theories either.

      • There are a host of industries getting paid without “something (real) to say.” All you have to do is get people to buy your story because it appeals to their pre-existing beliefs. Even better if it also provides a opportunity for government to grow itself and expand its power, that will turn on the sweet, sweet tax money taps to pay (in this case) researchers to sustain the self-perpetuating cycle of graft and growth.

      • There will always be “snake-oil salesmen” that take advantage of gullible people but this is clearly not that. Pre-existing beliefs here tend to be those who get their beliefs from that 2000 year old fable.
        And your “Even better if it also provides a opportunity for government to grow itself and expand its power, that will turn on the sweet, sweet tax money taps to pay (in this case) researchers to sustain the self-perpetuating cycle of graft and growth.” is just bullshit!
        Talk about pre-existing beliefs.

      • Bill ,Looks like you are way in front of your skis ! Your mode of operation is make unprovable assumption about people or concepts attack them and smear them with bullchit in an attempt to stymie intelligent opinion or thought. Jason could out think you in any test hands down. Maybe you should open your mind a bit and actually consider his ideas . Or at least bring in some facts ? Other than bullchit ! IMO

      • Rayme, for some reason you feel it necessary to come to Jason’s defense with a bunch of name-calling.
        I merely pointed out where Jason has blundered in his thinking, particularly in his use of weather and climate. I don’t need to bring in facts about the difference between these terms as anyone can just look them up. Further his alluding to some industry that makes up its own “theories” and then perpetuates them is really not worth my time in refuting. Like I said, Jason seems to not have a good grasp on theories IMO. And he is certainly capable of defending his statements, if he chooses.
        As for you, STFU.

    • Love the cool weather! Just right! Snow too! Looks like the historical climate cycle is doing what it has for millions of years. Up and down. Gota love it !!

      • Rayme, do you have something to show us, relative to your “historical climate cycle”, so’s we all can see what it is that you are privy to?
        We all know that climate has had its ups and downs over the history of the Earth but science is particularly interested in what’s referred to as human caused climate change, particularly since our use of fossil fuels. And getting the amount of change removed from natural causes is what’s causing the most grief, IMO.

      • Have you ever noticed how admitting to some skepticism of various (highly political, highly biased) reports brings on a response similar to hardcore religious zealotry? Ironic.

        @Bill, I love the environment and focus on a low emission, energy efficient lifestyle that has included transportation by animal as my primary mode of travel for the better part of four and a half decades. Please don’t mistake my healthy skepticism for ignorance or lack of devotion to Mother Earth. I just don’t guzzle the Kool Aid because I’m told that I’m a hateful Luddite if I don’t:)

      • Jason, you mention your “healthy skepticism for ignorance” but don’t specify what it is you are talking about. Care to enlighten us as to what this ignorance is you speak of? Also, what are you referring to about “lack of devotion to Mother Earth” that seems directed at me??
        I’ve made no assumptions about you, other than just what I mentioned. And what does your transportation methods have to do with anything?
        As far as I know, we are just discussing climate change here and the differences between that and weather. Theories have gotten thrown in without much to back them up, other than an attempt IMO to badmouth some who believe in human caused climate change. And I have no idea of what brand of Kool Aid you choose to guzzle, either!

      • Jason, I seem to have misunderstood your “healthy skepticism for ignorance” comment and, upon reading it again, I’ll just say that I have at no time suggested any “ignorance” on your part and only a blunder in the difference between climate and weather.
        Also, my comment on your grasp of theories is based on your comment that somehow the industry proves its own “theory,” as if there is one theory. And then your next comment refers to the industry perpetuating its own “theories.” These were both pretty cheap shots without even a hint at what theory/theories you speak of.
        This, also in no way, is my hinting at any “ignorance” on your part-taking a cheap shot has nothing to do with ignorance IMO.

  4. Gotta love the global warming/climate change industry. No matter what the weather is doing, no matter what natural disasters are befalling the world (or not), it all proves their theory.

    I got into the wrong business:)

    • It just comes down to the difference between “weather” and “climate!” You obviously don’t know (or care about) the difference but yet you still feel you understand “their theory.”

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