The Variability of the Present Climate of Interior Alaska

Sue Ann Bowling

Any discussion of the possible effects of a climatic change should start with consideration of short-term variations in the historical climate. The Fairbanks climatic record is over 70 years long (with several changes in exact location) and while the location of data collection has changed, making the record of questionable value for determination of long-term trends, it still contains a great deal of usable information. For example, the year-to-year variability of monthly mean temperature is so much greater in winter than in summer that winter temperatures overwhelmingly dominate the yearly means. Consequently, activities which depend primarily on summer temperatures and precipitation, such as agriculture, may show very little dependence on annual mean temperature. Monthly and seasonal running means of temperature and precipitation will be presented, and their interrelationship and consequences will be discussed.

Published 1984 in: The Potential Effects of CO2-Induced Climatic Change in Alaska, Fairbanks, April 7-8, 1982. Conference Proceedings, pp. 67-75