December 2011 Weather Summary

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Date: January 23, 2012
Contact: Deb Kurtz, (907) 422-0544

After November's strong winds and colder than normal temperatures, it was a relief that December delivered weaker, and fewer, wind events and returned temperatures and precipitation amounts closer to normal, falling only slightly below the 30-year respective averages. December's average temperature of 26.2 degrees F made it the third coldest month of 2011 with November being the coldest month (23.5 degrees F) and February being the second coldest (26 degrees F) month of the year. December had the lowest maximum temperature of the year with temperatures remaining below 42 degrees F. September and October were the only months that Seward received more precipitation than December.

As recorded at the Seward airport, total precipitation for the month was 8.58 inches (90% of normal), .96 inches below the average monthly precipitation. The monthly average temperature was 26.2 degrees F; 2.7 degrees F below the 30- year average (1981-2010) for this month. December 4th was the warmest day of the month with a high of 42 degrees F; December 30th was the coldest day with a low of 4 degrees F. December 22nd was the windiest day at the Seward airport with an average wind speed of 21.1 mph and wind gusts up to 45 mph.

Also of note:

  • The National Weather Service is looking for a Seward volunteer to participate in their Cooperative Observer Program. Please contact Deb at Kenai Fjords National Park at 422-0544 for more information.
  • A new report from the National Weather Service in Anchorage provides a look at this year's winter weather across Southcentral Alaska, including facts and a discussion on cause and effect.
  • The Winter 2011 issue of the Alaska Climate Dispatch discusses the new 30 year normals and how these relate to climate change in Alaska. Overall, the updated normals are somewhat warmer in Alaska, with the greatest absolute warming in the winter and the most statistically significant warming in June. Changes in monthly precipitation are somewhat wetter with no change at any one station presenting a statistical significance.
  • The journal Nature published new research indicating that permafrost thaw will have a greater effect on climate than previous modeling studies have predicted.
  • New research into the Earth's paleoclimate history by NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies suggests the potential for rapid climate changes this century, including multiple meters of sea level rise, if global warming is not abated:
  • New research reported in the journal Nature Geoscience indicates that human emissions of carbon dioxide will defer the next Ice Age that, without these changes, would begin within 1,500 years.
  • A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change evaluates the role of climate change in altering characteristics of extreme events, and assesses opportunities to reduce exposure and vulnerability and improve resilience to climate extremes.
  • NASA Earth Observatory reports that 2011 was the 9th hottest in the past 130 years. Nine out of the ten warmest years have occurred since 2000.
  • The National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center's one month weather outlook (January 2012) favors below normal temperatures and normal precipitation for the Kenai Fjords area. The three month outlook (Jan-Feb-Mar) predicts below normal temperatures and below normal precipitation.
  • 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
  • Additional, detailed climate information is available from the UAF Alaska Climate Research Center monthly state-wide summaries

More about the local climate in December 2011

Last updated: December 19, 2017

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PO Box 1727
Seward, AK 99664


(907) 422-0500

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