Fairbanks Annual Summary 2016


Fairbanks Annual

Weather Review 2016

by

Gerd Wendler

Alaska Climate Research Center, Geophysical Institute, UAF

 

TEMPERATURE: The mean annual temperature in Fairbanks for 2016 (Figure 1) was 31.6°F, 3.9°F above the last normal annual temperature (the mean of the last 3 decades). 2016 was 1.6°F warmer than 2015. The temperature record for Fairbanks goes back to 1906, one of the longest unbroken meteorological records for Alaska. While the overall warming trend of about 2.5°F per century continued, this trend is anything but linear (Wendler and Shulski 2009). Actually, the warmest annual temperature ever measured occurred in 1926, with a temperature just above the freezing point.

 

Figure 1: 2016 temperatures of Fairbanks, Alaska.

 

In Figure 2, the deviations of the mean daily temperatures from normal are presented. The highest temperature of the year occurred on the 13 and 14 July 2016 at 88°F, while the lowest temperature of -36°F was observed on the 4th December 2016. There was no day in 2016 on which the temperature dropped below -40°F. The large annual temperature variation is typical for the continental climate of Interior Alaska, where summers are relatively warm, while winters can be really cold. There were 11 days with temperatures at or above 80°F, the same number of days as the previous year.

 

Figure 2: The mean annual temperature course for Fairbanks and its deviation from normal for 2016.

 

In Table 1, the monthly temperature values, as well as the departures from normal, are presented. As could be estimated from Figure 2, it shows that the first 5 months of the year were significantly warmer compared to the normal values. This is especially true of January, which observed a mean temperature of 3.5°F, a substantial deviation of 11.4°F above normal. June was slightly cooler than normal, with a deviation of -0.4°F. The rest of the year was warmer than normal, with the exception of December, in which observed temperatures were around -8.4°F, 4.3°F below normal.

Table 1: Monthly temperatures at Fairbanks for 2016, normal (30 year mean) temperatures and departures from the mean values.

Month

Temperature

Observed
(°F)

Normal
(°F)

Delta
(°F)

January

3.5

-7.9

11.4

February

7.9

-1.3

9.2

March

19.8

11.4

8.4

April

42.4

32.5

9.9

May

53.4

49.4

4.0

June

60.0

60.4

-0.4

July

63.4

62.5

0.9

August

61.1

56.1

5.0

September

46.2

44.9

1.3

October

26.7

24.2

2.5

November

3.7

2.6

1.1

December

-8.4

-4.1

-4.3

 

Precipitation: The annual precipitation in Fairbanks was measured at 16.06", 5.25" above the expected value of 10.81". In Figure 3, the cumulative daily precipitation is presented.

Figure 3: Cumulative daily precipitation for 2016, Fairbanks, Alaska.

 

 

In Table 2, the monthly precipitation values for 2016, and their deviations from normal are shown. The first 2 months of 2016 had below normal values of precipitation, but March to July 2016 had above normal values of precipitation. August was dry, and September was wet. October and November were drier than normal, but December had more than 1" more precipitation that what is expected for a winter month.

 

Table 2: Monthly precipitation at Fairbanks for 2016, normal (30 year mean) values and departures from the mean values.

Month

Precipitation

Observed
(in)

Normal
(in)

Delta
(in)

Delta
%

%

January

0.01

0.58

-0.57

-98%

2%

February

0.05

0.42

-0.37

-88%

12%

March

0.53

0.25

0.28

112%

212%

April

0.52

0.31

0.21

68%

168%

May

0.78

0.60

0.18

30%

130%

June

3.29

1.37

1.92

140%

240%

July

4.97

2.16

2.81

130%

230%

August

1.56

1.88

-0.32

-17%

83%

September

2.08

1.10

0.98

89%

189%

October

0.02

0.83

-0.81

-98%

2%

November

0.29

0.67

-0.38

-57%

43%

December

1.96

0.64

1.32

206%

306%

 

 

The type of precipitation, whether liquid (rain, mostly in the summer) or solid (snow, mostly in the winter), affects the air temperature. In summer, the surface normally dries following a precipitation event after a few hours or days, while in winter, snow cover can be maintained for months. Since snow is powerful insulator, this cover has a great influence on the heat exchange between the atmosphere and the soil.

 

Table 3: Monthly snowfall at Fairbanks for 2016, normal (30 year mean) values and departures from the mean values.

Month

Snowfall

Observed
(in)

Normal
(in)

Delta
(in)

Delta
%

%

January

0.80

10.30

-9.50

-92%

8%

February

0.60

8.10

-7.50

-93%

7%

March

3.70

4.90

-1.20

-24%

76%

April

3.70

2.90

0.80

28%

128%

May

0.00

0.90

-0.90

-100%

0%

June

0.00

0.00

0.00

 

July

0.00

0.00

0.00

 

August

0.00

0.00

0.00

 

September

0.00

1.80

-1.80

-100%

0%

October

0.80

10.80

-10.00

-93%

7%

November

4.40

13.20

-8.80

-67%

33%

December

32.90

12.10

20.80

172%

272%

 

The total annual snowfall for Fairbanks was measured as 46.9". One-month sticks out in particular- Fairbanks in December saw a total monthly snowfall of 32.9". And 10.4" of this total monthly amount fell on the 29th of December; this is a new daily record for snowfall.

 

In Table 4, a summary of the 2016 climate data for Fairbanks is presented.

 

 

Table 4: Climatological data of interest for 2016, Fairbanks, Alaska.

 

2016 by the Numbers

Statistic

Value

Mean Annual Temperature

31.6°F

     Departure from Normal

3.9°F

Highest Temperature

88°F (13, 14 Jul)

Mean Highest Temperature

74.5°F (14 Jul)

Highs at or Above 80°F

11 days

Lowest Temperature

-36°F (4 Dec)

Mean Lowest Temperature

-31.5°F (4 Dec)

Lows at or Below -40°F

0 days

Total Precipitation

16.06 inches

     Departure from Normal

5.25 inches

Maximum 24hr Precipitation

0.95 inches (11 Jun)

Total Snowfall

46.9 inches

     Departure from Normal

-18.1 inches

Maximum 24hr Snowfall

10.4 inches (29 Dec)

New Record Highs/Lows

2 / 0

New Record Precipitation/Snowfall

7 / 3

Heating Degree Days

12165

     Departure from Normal

-1501

Cooling Degree Days

71

     Departure from Normal

10

Growing Degree Days

1232

     Departure from Normal

171

Average Wind Speed

4.1 mph

Highest Wind Speed

51 mph at 260° (31 Dec)

End of Seasonal Snow Cover

9 Apr (16 days early)

Last Freeze

5 May (0 days early)

Greenup Day

26 Apr (14 days early)

First Freeze

8 Sep (3 days early)

Length of Growing Season

125 days

     Departure from Normal

3 days less

Establishment of Seasonal Snow Cover

6 Nov (28 days late)

Wildfire Area Burned

500,794 acres

       Human Caused

10,068 acres

       Lightning Caused

490,726 acres

Number of Wildland Fires

573

       Human Caused

345

       Lightning Caused

228

 

Fairbanks has one of the longest climate records in Alaska. If interested in the long-term change of the climate of Fairbanks, see the discussion within the journal publication referenced below.

 

Reference: Wendler, G and M. Shulski, 2009, A Century of Climate Change for Fairbanks, Alaska, Arctic, 62(3), 295-300

 

 

This information consists of preliminary climatological data compiled by the Alaska Climate Research Center, Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks. For more information on weather and climatology, contact the center at 474-7885 or visit the center web site at http://akclimate.org. Please report any errors to webmaster@akclimate.org.

 

 

annual_image: