Mar 30, 2019

Alaska bakes under heat wave linked to climate change

Alaska
USA
by
Jocelyne Zablit
,
Phys.org
March 2019 may prove to be the warmest March on record for many places in Alaska, with temperatures foor some northern cities and towns potentially soaring 25 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit above normal. Photo: Phys.org
March 2019 may prove to be the warmest March on record for many places in Alaska, with temperatures foor some northern cities and towns potentially soaring 25 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit above normal. Photo: Phys.org

Alaska residents accustomed to subzero temperatures are experiencing a heat wave of sorts that is shattering records, with the thermometer jumping to more than 30 degrees Fahrenheit (16.7 Celsius) above normal in some regions.

"Both February and March have been exceptionally warm," Rick Thoman, a climate specialist with the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy, told AFP. "Many places are on their way to their warmest March on record."

He said that cities and towns in the northern half of the state, including Wainwright, Nuiqsut, Kaktovik and Barrow (also known as Utqiagvik), could see temperatures soar 25 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit (14 to 22 Celsius) above normal this weekend as the warm trend continues.

"At Barrow, through yesterday, they've had daily record high temperatures five separate days this month ... and that's quite an achievement," Thoman said.

"This is following on the heels of the very warm, and in some places record warm February," he added. "We now have April or May weather in March."

In Barrow, for example, the temperature jumped to 30 degrees Fahrenheit (-1 Celsius) on Thursday when the normal high is minus three Fahrenheit.

"Deadhorse, AK, is set to finish March about 23°F (12.7 Celsius) above normal for the month," Brian Brettschneider, a climatologist based in Alaska tweeted on Thursday.