Alaska had April weather in March
In March, most of Alaska had weather normally expected in April.
“March was too warm,” said Martin Stuefer, Alaska’s state climatologist. “It was as if we didn’t have March this year. We had April instead.”
Stuefer is an associate research professor with the Alaska Climate Research Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute. He said a weather pattern with a high-pressure ridge over Alaska and northwestern Canada persisted for more than two weeks, causing record-breaking warm temperatures. At the same time, an area of low pressure centered over the Bering Sea produced a southwesterly flow along Alaska’s west coast, pushing warm air from southern latitudes far into the Arctic.
New monthly high temperature records were set in 10 of the selected 19 stations, especially in the Interior and in western and northern Alaska. Kotzebue’s average monthly temperature was 21.9 degrees Fahrenheit above normal. Utqiaġvik’s mean monthly temperature was 5.9, which is 5.5 degrees warmer than the previous record March, recorded in 1904. Other sites that recorded record high monthly temperatures were Bethel, Nome, Delta Junction, Bettles, Fairbanks, Homer, McGrath and Talkeetna.
Ten stations around the state departed from the monthly averages by double digits. Many daily temperature records were broken as well.
Fairbanks saw consecutive days with low temperatures above freezing during the last week of March, the first time this has ever been recorded in March.
The Bering Sea set a new record for lowest March sea ice extent, as did the Chukchi Sea. Sea ice in the Arctic Ocean was the seventh lowest since satellite records have been kept.
The Alaska Climate Research Center was established and is funded by the state of Alaska. The center is part of the UAF Geophysical Institute.
Sue Mitchell, University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, 907-474-5823, firstname.lastname@example.org