|Information courtesy of the
National Climate Data Center
|The station at Cold Bay is located approximately 30 miles from the end of the Alaskan Peninsula on the northwest side of Cold Bay. Ten miles south-southwest of the station, Frosty Peak rises to an elevation of 6,700 feet. Across the bay to the east several mountains rise to elevations in excess of 5,000 feet. The mountains to the east and southwest provide a sheltering effect from winds and precipitation approaching from these directions. Winds reaching the station from southwesterly or easterly directions rarely exceed 15 mph. The open bay area to the south-southeastward tends to provide a funneling effect upon all winds approaching the Cold Bay area from the southwest to the southeast. From west to the northeast the land is relatively flat with numerous lakes and swamps. Winds from northerly directions are influenced very little by this flat terrain.
The high frequency of cyclonic storms crossing the Northern Pacific and the Bering Sea are the dominant factors in the weather at Cold Bay. These storms account for the high winds and the frequent occurrences of low ceilings and low visibilities encountered at this station. The winds generally result from the strong pressure gradient developing between the Pacific High and the cyclonic storms in the Northern Pacific and Bering Sea.
The climate at Cold Bay is basically maritime, due to the nearness to extensive open ocean areas, and temperature extremes, both seasonal and diurnal, are generally confined to fairly narrow limits. Differences between maximum and minimum temperatures for all individual months average less than 10 degrees. Although it is practically impossible for cold, continental air masses to reach the Cold Bay area by moving overland along the somewhat narrow Alaskan Peninsula, air overlying the frozen ocean surface of the Bering Sea may take on continental characteristics and bring rather cold temperatures to the area. Although below-zero readings have been recorded from December to March, inclusive, below-zero readings are infrequent.
Due to the moderating effects of nearby ocean areas, it is difficult to define the seasonal periods at Cold Bay. The beginning of spring is late. The vegetation does not begin to grow until late May or early June. August is regarded as the midsummer period and autumn arrives in early October. The greatest frequency of fog usually comes in the summer season, with the foggy period extending from mid-July to mid-September. During the winter months visibilities are frequently restricted due to blowing snow. Precipitation is frequent but not abundant. The shortest day of the year at Cold Bay has 7 hours and 7 minutes of possible sunshine, the longest day has 17 hours and 27 minutes of possible sunshine.