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March 2013 Weather Summary

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Date: April 17, 2013
Contact: Deborah Kurtz, (907) 422-0544

March was generally characterized by cooler than normal temperatures and above normal precipitation that came and went in a cyclical nature. Throughout the month, pulses of one-to-two day precipitation events delivered approximately 8-12 inches of snow following several days of sunshine each week. This weekly weather pattern increased the snowpack despite the clear sunny spells and lengthening hours of daylight provided by the onset of spring. Seward gained 2 hours and 34 minutes of daylight over the course of the month.

As recorded at the Seward airport, total precipitation for the month was 6.14 inches (139% of normal), 1.72 inches above the 30-year average (1981-2010) for the month. The monthly average temperature for March was 30.2 degrees F; 1.9 degrees F below the 30-year average. March 25th was the windiest day of the month reported at the Seward airport with sustained winds of 21.8 mph and a 5-second wind gust of 45 mph. 

Also of note:                                                                         

  • The National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center's three month weather outlook (April-May-June)favors normal temperatures and normal precipitation for the Kenai Fjords area.
  • The 2013 winter extent of the Bering Sea Ice reached the third all-time high coverage since record keeping began in 1979. Read more about it in the latest edition of the Alaska Climate Dispatch.
  • Research published in the journal Nature indicates that regions of the Arctic Ocean that were previously inaccessible to ships without icebreaking hulls will be accessible by 2050, opening a new pathway to the spread of invasive species.
  • The National Fish, Wildlife, and Plant Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, the first nationwide strategy to help public and private decision makers address the impacts of climate change on natural resources, has been released.
  • A new study published inNature Climate Changereports evidence of climate change-induced vegetation shifts into the northern latitudes of North America "making Canada look more like the United States."
  • A negative phase in the Arctic Oscillation (AO) resulted in warmer temperatures in the Arctic and colder temperatures in the mid-latitudes in March. Learn more about the AO and its influence on temperature patterns at NASA's Earth Observatory System's page.
  • New research published in the journalGeophysical Research Lettersreports that by the end of the 21stcentury, 20% of Canada's glacial ice will melt, adding 3.5 cm to global sea levels.
  • NOAA climate services portal serves as a single point-of-entry for NOAA's extensive climate information, data, products, services, and the climate science magazine ClimateWatch.

Read more to find out about the local climate for March 2013

Did You Know?

The Harding Icefield in Kenai Fjords National Park

Snowfall on the Harding Icefield can exceed 100 feet each year. After 4-10 years of compression snow turns into glacial ice.