|Information courtesy of the National Climate Data Center|
|Kotzebue is located 26 miles inside the Arctic Circle and very near the north end of a long narrow peninsula bounded on the north and west by Kotzebue Sound and on the east by Hotham Inlet, known locally as Kobuk Lake. These water bodies produce a maritime type of climate when the water is ice-free, which is roughly from late May to late October, although the western portion of the sound is not completely frozen until about December and not completely free of ice again until the middle of July. Local topography is nearly uniform with a general low relief, so that there are no significant terrain barriers in the immediate area to impede surface air flow or produce pronounced local variations in temperature and precipitation. The mountainous Seward Peninsula to the south, however, does deflect some low pressure systems which originate in or beyond the Bering Sea area and move toward this region.
During the ice-free period cloudy skies prevail, fog occurs, daily temperatures are relatively uniform, relative humidity is high, and westerly winds predominate. These normal conditions are altered only by cyclonic storms or by pressure systems strong enough to overcome local circulation tendencies.
When the water surrounding the peninsula becomes frozen, the climatic characteristics approach the continental type. The change from maritime to approximately continental conditions becomes progressively more pronounced as the ice cover advances across the sound toward the Arctic Ocean. A similar, but inverse, change occurs as the ice diminishes. Average winter temperatures are not as severe as might be expected at this latitude. Cyclonic storms and the influence of the Arctic Ocean, which is often relatively free of ice, moderate the winter temperatures.
Precipitation is very light. Snow generally falls in every month of the year except July and August. The total for a normal year is 8 inches.
Cyclonic storms are frequent, especially from October to April, and many of them are accompanied by high winds and blizzard conditions during the winter months. The absence of pronounced sheltering terrain results in unimpeded air movement throughout the year. Windy weather, somewhat characteristic of the area, results largely from the numerous cyclonic storms and uneven heat radiation of adjoining land and water areas.