Friday, January 28, 2011

40th Anniversary of the 80 below at Prospect Creek

Here's a link to Ned Rozell's article on the 40th anniversary of 80 below at Prospect Creek: includes photos

Warmer Weather on the Way

The inversion was only moderately strong on the 3am Friday sounding, but it has since increased: at 11am AST, Goldstream Valley Bottom sitting at -10F, while here on the ridge its +23F.

All the numerical models have a major ridge building into western North America, with a prolonged period of southerly winds aloft over mainland Alaska.The model plot is from the GFS valid Wednesday morning. Looks like we are going to have to turn the refrig back on!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Little Snow

A general half inch of snow in Fairbanks-land Wednesday night-Thursday morning.
This gets the airport up to a whopping 26.5 inches for the season (about 40 inches here at Keystone Ridge). While not quite as low as last winter, it is still barely half of normal. La NiƱa winters typically feature normal or above snowfall in Fairbanks, so thus far this winter is not living up to expectations. Of course, still plenty of time, but we're now solidly into the drier side of winter.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Elevated Inversion

Nice example of an elevated inversion this morning, with the really warm air above 400 meters AGL. The difference between the surface and the warmest temperature is 26.2C (47F), which is pretty impressive, though far from any record.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sharp inversion in the Denali Park area

Cold valley area is gradually being eroded away, to be replaced by much warmer air sitting just above. This has resulted in wide temperature variation in the Denali Park-Healy area.

At 530pm, Cantwell was +30F. The AWOS at the Train Station in Denali Park was +28F, while the RAWS near the the WAC is +4; these less than half a mile apart very little elevation difference between the RAWS and AWOS. The cold air is still in place in Healy, with Healy -13F and Otto Lake and the RWIS near Antler Creek -10F.

Cold on the North Slope

The first sunrise of the year at Barrow was Sunday, and they are celebrating today with some 40 below weather.

North Slope lows so far Monday

Barrow: -45F
Deadhorse: -46F
Nuiqsut: -48F
Galbraith Lake: -53F
Umiat -54F

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Coldest temps of the season

Low temperatures in most places in the Fairbanks area Saturday/Sunday morning were near or at the lowest of the season. At higher elevations, these are generally the lowest temperatures since early February, 2009

Eielson AFB: -45F
Goldstream Creek: -44F
East Fort Wainwright: -43F
Fairbanks Airport: -42F
42 Mile Steese: -37F
UAF West Ridge: -35F

Keystone Ridge: -29F
McGrath Road CWOP: -29F
Nenana Hills RWIS: -27F (Parks Highway at FNSB boundary)
Cleary Summit RWIS: -24F

Saturday, January 22, 2011

No Inversion Saturday afternoon!

NO inversion Saturday afternoon:

at 4pm, Keystone Ridge -25F, Goldstream Creek -19F, Fairbanks Airport -18F

Since then, the temperature here on Keystone Ridge has fallen to -27F, the lowest temperature here since February 2009.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Another nippy one

The Fairbanks area was generally a few degrees warmer Friday morning than the day before, while up on the Yukon Flats it was a few degrees colder.

Lows include

Fort Yukon Coop: -56F
Circle Hot Springs: -53F
Central: -53F

Eielson AFB: -43F
Fairbanks Airport: -39F

For the coop stations that do their observation in the morning, the following may have (probably) occurred Thursday:

Goldstream Creek: -48F
East Fort Wainwright: -44F
University Experiment Station: -35F
UAF West Ridge: -33F

Coop obs from Thursday evening:
North Pole: -50F
Aurora: -38F
Fairbanks Midtown: -35F
East Farmers Loop: -30

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Afternoon sun

January afternoon sunshine from UAF; temperature in the -20s

Nippy Morning

It's a nippy morning; in Interior Alaska: there isn't much cloud on this GOES-11 infrared image north of the Alaska Range; the white is mostly cold air pooled in the valleys.

Lows reported thus far this morning include:

Chicken Coop: -55F
Fort Yukon AWOS -54F
Birch Creek RAWS: -52F (btwn Central and Circle)
Fort Yukon Coop: -51F
Bettles: -51F
Circle Hot Springs: -49F
Central: -47F

Manley Hot Springs: -47F
Eagle Airport: -45F
Tanana: -43F
Eagle Coop: -42F

In the greater Fairbanks area:

Woodsmoke: -45F (near Badger Road)
Eielson AFB: -43F
Goldstream Creek: -43F
East Fort Wainwright: -43F
Fairbanks International: -40F
University Experiment Station:-33F
UAF West Ridge: -33F
Keystone Ridge: -16F

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Ongoing Warmth

Here are the plots of temperatures for the past three months for Fairbanks and Barrow. While not monolithic, its been mostly mild. Plots from the Climate Prediction Center

Inversions Back

Update below

After bottoming out at 20 below here on the hill about noon Monday, temperatures have been steadily rising since late afternoon, with an increasingly steady breeze. In the valley though, clear calm and cold.

7am temps:

Eielson AFB: -37F
North Pole: -37F
Goldstream Valley Bottom: -35F
Fort Wainwright: -34F
Fairbanks Airport: -31F


Keystone Ridge: -1F
Cleary Summit: -2F
Nenana Hills RWIS (Parks Highway at the Borough boundary): -2F
Ester Dome: -4F

There is an intermediate zone, generally a few hundred feet above the valley floor:
1 Mile Old Nenana Highway: -15F
17 Mile Chena Hot Springs Road: -13F
University Heights: -12F
McGrath Road: -9F

At 1015am it was +6F here on Keystone Ridge with about a 10 mph wind blowing. At 10am it was -35F at Fairbanks International. Now that's an inversion!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sunset on Denali

15 below on Keystone Ridge, sun setting on Denali Monday afternoon

Cold Air on the Move

Cold air pouring across the Brooks Range is producing this ominious scence from Chandalar DOT camp at Mile 239 of the Dalton Highway, the webcam looking NW into Atigun Pass. The Snotel at the top of the pass was reporting -9F with north winds 20 gusting 31mph at 1pm AST. Alaska DOT reports poor driving conditions Miles 274-301 on the Dalton, roughly from Toolik to Sag River DOT. Photo from 153pm AST Monday, from the FAA.

Deep Storm

Somewhat far afield from Interior Alaska but worth a mention: this super deep storm southwest of the Aleutians. Analysis from the NWS Ocean Prediction Center. Shemya had a wind gust to 70 mph and Adak had a gust to 68 mph Monday morning just ahead of the occluded front.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Building Inversion

The Sunday morning sounding shows the sharp surface based inversion, but the warmest air is way up there, above 1600 meters AGL.

Sunday mid-morning temperatures:

Caribou Peak: +4F
Cleary Summit: +2F
Angel Creek RAWS +1F

Fairbanks International: -27F
Eielson AFB -30F
Woodsmoke near North Pole: -33F

Of course, Angel Creek is not a "hill" location. But it is a breezy location.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Moon Shine over Barrow

Late morning moon shine over the Chukchi Sea at Barrow. Image from the UAF Sea Ice program. First sunrise of the year at Barrow will be next Sunday.

Chilly in the Upper Tanana Valley

The coldest weather of the winter thus far in the upper Tanana Valley and in the Yukon. The NOAA-19 infrared image shows the cold air (white colors) pooled in the valleys.

Update 2:

Low temperatures include:
Beaver Creek, YT: -56F
Mayo, YT: -54F
Dawson, YT: -53F
Chicken: -52F
Northway: -52F
Port Alcan: -51F
Tok: -50F
Eagle: -46F

Friday, January 14, 2011

Sea Ice

Quick note on Arctic Sea ice, which is still near record low values as of this week. Image from National Snow and Ice Data Center.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Returning Sunshine

Winter sunshine in the central Brooks Range; looking north from Chandalar DOT camp on the Dalton Highwayat 68N. 1254pm Thursday photo from the FAA.

Nice Inversion

Late morning temperatures Thursday:

Keystone Ridge: +9F
Goldstream Valley: -23F

No surprise there. More interesting is the spread in temperatures around North Pole:

Woodsmoke (Badger Road): +1F
urban North Pole: -23F

The miracle of a puff of wind

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Big High

The record strong high aloft 3AM AST Tuesday centered in the Chukchi Sea just offshore of Point Hope. 500mb heights this morning include

Barrow: 577dm
Kotzebue 582dm
Nome 582dm

All records.

In Fairbanks-land, winds picked up here on Keystone Ridge late Monday evening and the temperature jumped to 26F. The wind did make it down to the valley floor in some places, but not the Airport, where the high temperature the past day has been 1 above.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Cool air Hangs on

While there is a small area above freezing on the afternoon sounding at Fairbanks, the cool air is hanging on in the lowest few hundred meters. Works for me: this way we don't have to turn the refrigerator back on!

Record High Aloft

The 3am Monday upper air soundings from Nome, Kotzebue and Barrow all have new record high 500 mb heights for January for these locations. Translation: this is the strongest mid-winter high aloft of record over NW Alaska. Actually, its the strongest high aloft outside of summer over NW Alaska. Analysis from Environment Canada.

The record heights are:

Barrow: 568dm
Kotzebue: 579dm
Nome: 577dm
One of the impacts of this high clear skies over much of northern Alaska; there was a beautiful aurora here about 2am.

3pm AST Monday update: latest RAOBs have the following:
Barrow: 576dm
Kotzebue: 582dm
Nome: 580dm


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Cool air Eroding

Only about 200 meters of cool air left on the RAOB this afternoon. Through 5pm it has been up to 22F thus far here on Keystone Ridge

Record High at Barrow

The temperature has been up to 33F so far today (Sunday) at Barrow, easily breaking the old record high for January 9th of 25F set in 2005. This is part of the huge slug of hot air pouring north around the building mega-high aloft.

Photo from 11am Sunday at Barrow; sunrise is still a couple weeks away. Looks like an open lead in the sea ice offshore.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Warming up

Fairbanks RAOB from 3pm Saturday shows about 500 meters of cool air. Above that, warming from the building mega-high aloft.

Mind-Boggling High Building

The models have been all over this for days now. What will be the strongest high aloft ever recorded over northern Alaska outside of summer is building this weekend. At Barrow the highest 500mb height ever measured in January is 566dm (data since 1946). The 12Z GFS is forecasting max 500mb heights for this event at Barrow of 580dm, 583dm at Kotzebue and 584dm at Ambler. At Fairbanks GFS has max height of 577dm, which would be a January record.

This will also be another nice example of how very high surface pressures will not be associated with particularly low surface temperatures. Image from the 1200 UTC Jan 08 ECMWF valid 3am AST Tuesday, from Plymouth State.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Snow Saga Continues

Early Friday morning the area of enhanced fluff powder moved east. While Fairbanks airport only wound up with 1.7 inches, North Pole received about 4 inches of snow between 11pm and 6am, Salcha 3 inches, 2 Mile Chena Hot Springs about 3. Meanwhile, here on Keystone Ridge, only 0.6 inches between 9pm and 8am. So much more the "upslope" explanation! All of this came out of clouds with tops around 6000 ft!

Storm totals specifics:

Keystone Ridge: 3.9 inches snow, 0.10 liquid inches (3pm)
East Fort Wainwright 3.5 inches snow, 0.11 inches liquid (8am)
Gilmore Creek: 3.0 inches snow, 0.03" inches liquid (3pm)
University Experiment Station: 2.0 inches snow, 0.05 liquid inches (8am)
UAF West Ridge: 2.0 inches snow, 0.05 liquid inches (9am)
Fairbanks Airport: 1.7 inches snow, 0.12 liquid inches (3pm)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Snow variability

Light snow most of the day in the area. As of late evening, generally less than an inch accumulation. Except here on Keystone Ridge, where there's more than 3 inches of fluff powder

Keystone Ridge: 3.2 inches
North Pole: 1.5 inches
Fairbanks Airport 0.8 inches
East Farmers Loop: 0.8 inches
Aurora: 0.7 inches
Goldstream Valley Bottom: 0.5 inches

Presumably this is due to the westerly flow and some upslope across the ridge.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Cold enough to be a Senior Frosticles

Low temperature Wednesday at Oymyakon, Siberia: -78F. That be cold.

Strong Inversion

This is a good one: 3pm Wednesday, almost 25F degree inversion in the lowest 100 meters. Clear skies. But the sun was shining at 3pm, which is 20 minutes later than on Solstice.

This is be increasingly the case: starting over the weekend all models are building a massive high aloft over NW Alaska, which this time of year is a good way to create very steep inversions.

Odds and Ends

After a skiff of snow Tuesday evening (Trace in town, 0.5 inches here on the hill), skies cleared out and a nice inversion quickly formed, complete, for a while, with dense fog. At 11am temperatures range from the 25 to 30 at elevation to near or slightly below zero in valleys:

Clearly Summit: 28F
McGrath Road: 27F
Keystone Ridge: 25F

North Pole: -3F
Chena Hot Springs +1F
Fairbanks Airport +3F

To the west, Oymyakon sitting at -74F at 10am Alaska Time

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Warm air working northward

The warm air that's been over Fairbanks-land since New Years day is gradually making it down to the ground in the northern Interior. Temperatures Tuesday morning are in the mid 20s to lower 30s in the central Brooks Range valleys, and even on the Yukon Flats, the temperature has popped up where the wind has made it down to the valley floor. This is graphically illustrated on the NOAA-19 POES infrared image from 357am Tuesday. Some late morning temperatures include:

Coldfoot: 25F
Prospect Creek: 30F
Fort Yukon: 21F

The Circle Hot Springs area shows a nice inversion:

Circle Hot Springs CWOP: 22F
Central: +3F
Birch Creek RAWS: -5F

Monday, January 3, 2011

Extent of the Inversion Buster

The Chinook burst during the early morning of Sunday that sent the temperature at the airport soaring to 41 degrees, tying the record high for the date, was not able to completely scour out the subfreezing area from all the low lying areas. This was evident right on Goldstream Valley bottom, where snow still clung to the spruce on Monday afternoon. Here are some high temperatures for the event:

Chena Hot Springs: 42F
Eielson AFB: 42F
Fairbanks Airport: 41F
UAF West Ridge
Aurora: 40F
Keystone Ridge: 38F
Fairbanks Upper Air: 34F (this is less than 0.5 kilometers from the ASOS)
Goldstream Valley Bottom: 28F
Goldstream Creek: 25F

Sunday, January 2, 2011

From the Sublime to the Ridiculous: Record Warmth

The Chinook broke through to the surface late Saturday evening and the temperature leapt to 41F at the airport at 3am Sunday, tieing the record high for January 2nd. The morning RAOB tells the story. Actually, at the time of balloon launch it was already in the upper 3os at the ASOS; the upper air building, being in a low spot, still clung to to the inversion at the time of launch (218am AST). Since 7am the winds have died off and skies cleared, so the temperature is back down in the teens at the airport.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

December Stats

Fairbanks Airport: Average Temperature -17.9F, 12.0F below normal and coldest December since 1980. Overall, 11th coldest of record. High for the month 19F, low -41F. Snow 4.1 inches.

Update: The low mean temp was entirely the result of a lack of mild weather. There was no deep cold to speak of. Only three days with highs of 30 below or colder. No significant ice fog.