November 2012 Weather Summary

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Date: December 11, 2012
Contact: Deborah Kurtz, (907)422-0544

November saw a continuation of the dry weather experienced in October and provided the least amount of precipitation of any month of the year so far. Although temperatures were near average, precipitation was recorded at the Seward airport weather station on only three days of the month. When tallied with October, that equates to a total of 49 days (80% of October and November) with no measurable precipitation at the Seward airport for both months.

As recorded at the Seward airport, total precipitation for the month was .55 inches (8% of normal), 6.76 inches below the 30-year average (1981-2010) for the month. Although it felt like an extremely dry month with the potential for setting a new low record for monthly precipitation, it did not. There have been a total of eight other years in the past when November was drier than 2012. The monthly average temperature for November was 28.1 degrees F; 2.8 degrees F below the 30-year average. November 19th was the windiest day of the month at the Seward airport with an average daily wind speed of 24.7 mph and a 5-second wind gust of 49 mph.

Also of note:                                                                                              

·The National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center's  three month weather outlook (December-January-February) favors below normal temperatures and below normal precipitation for the Kenai Fjords area, indicating a continuation of cool and dry conditions throughout the 2012-13 winter.

·Cold, dry conditions in November provided numerous nights for hoar frost development in the mountains and have resulted in a thin, weak, unconsolidated base for the winter's snowpack to form on and, eventually, avalanches to slide on. To learn more about local avalanche conditions, see the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center.

·Climate Watch magazine reports a record low spring snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere in 2012. The exception to this was the Prince William Sound area where several all-time record snowfalls were recorded. To read more and see a map illustrating the snow depths, click here.

·Cool, dry conditions can allow glacial flour deposited along river valleys to dry out and become airborne. NASA captured this scenario last month with satellite-based imagery documenting a plume of Copper River dust over Prince William Sound.

·New research in the journal Nature Climate Change indicates that the advancement of trees into Arctic tundra resulting from warmer temperatures may contribute to atmospheric carbon levels as release of carbon from increased belowground decomposition may be greater than the increased aboveground carbon storage.

·A new documentary, Chasing Ice, incorporates time-lapse photography to record glacial change, resulting from climate change, across the Arctic, including southern Alaska.

·The World Policy Institute blogs about the Arctic as a "portent of the future" in a world experiencing climate change.

·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.

Last updated: April 14, 2015

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