September 2012 Weather Summary
Contact: Deborah Kurtz, (907) 422-0546
Multiple consecutive low pressure systems formed in western Alaska in mid-September and followed a similar path over the Kenai Fjords coastline, leaving little opportunity for coastal communities to dry out between storms (Figure 1). Measurable rainfall was recorded at the Seward airport 26 of the 30 days of the month. Total monthly precipitation for September was greater than the sum of precipitation received February-August 2012 and denoted the month as the second wettest September on record (1995 holds the record as the September recording the greatest total monthly precipitation).
As recorded at the Seward airport, total precipitation for the month was 26.29 inches (267% of normal), 16.43 inches above the 30-year average (1981-2010) for the month. The monthly average temperature was 48.2 degrees F; 1.3 degrees F below the 30-year average. September 9th was the windiest day of the month at the Seward airport with an average daily wind speed of 16.8 mph.
Seward may have been wet, but it was one of the drier and less windy places in the Kenai Fjords area in September.The McArthur Pass Remote Automated Weather Station (RAWS) received more than twice the amount of rain than the Seward airport, and the outer coast and Harding Icefield weather stations recorded higher wind gusts than in town.
Also of note:
·The National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center'sthree month weather outlook (October-November-December) favors normal temperatures and normal precipitation for the Kenai Fjords area.
·The major storm that tracked into the Gulf of Alaska the last week of September made national news; read more about what the Washington Post reported on this "textbook storm".
·To view and/or download the visible radar image of Alaska's September 2012 "textbook storm" check out NASA's Earth Observatory Natural Disasters Image Library.
·NASA features Bear Glacier, located in Kenai Fjords National Park, as one of their numerous images of climate change. To view this and other satellite images documenting landscape change, see NASA's State of Flux gallery.
·NASA reports that two opposite sea ice records were recorded in September: the Arctic Ocean's ice cap reached a record summertime low extent while the Antarctic sea ice reached a record high maximum winter extent.
·Read the autumn edition of the Alaska Climate Dispatch to learn more about areas in Alaska and northern Canada that are likely to undergo the greatest or least ecological pressure due to climate change and more.
·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
Did You Know?
Snowfall on the Harding Icefield can exceed 100 feet each year. After 4-10 years of compression snow turns into glacial ice.