March 2013 Statewide Summary

Temperature

In contrast to the beginning of this year, which observed mostly above normal temperatures, March 2013 was colder than normal (see Fig.1). Negative deviations were observed for 16 of the 20 first order stations in Alaska, and a mean monthly value for the all stations could be calculated to a negative deviation of 1.7°F. Large negative deviations in declining order were found for Talkeetna (-4.6°F). Fairbanks (-4.3°F), Juneau (-4.1°F), Bettles and Bethel (both -3.0°F). Barrow was the only station with a substantial positive deviation of +5.3°F, continuing the long term warming trend observed in Arctic Alaska over the last decades. This trend is especially strong in fall and winter, as evidenced by the substantially decreased sea ice extent and thickness in the Arctic Ocean. Other positive deviations were not as substantial (< 1°F), and details for all stations can be seen from Table 1. Altogether the observed deviations are quite moderate when compared to other winter months, when much larger deviations were observed for monthly values in recent years, exceeding 20°F for a single station or 10°F for the mean of all stations.

 

 

Temperature

Station

Observed (°F)

Normal (°F)

Delta (°F)

Anchorage

24.5

26.6

-2.1

Annette

38.5

39.7

-1.2

Barrow

-7.4

-12.7

5.3

Bethel

12.2

15.2

-3

Bettles

1.4

4.4

-3

Cold Bay

30.8

30.1

0.7

Delta Junction

12.6

14.1

-1.5

Fairbanks

7.1

11.4

-4.3

Gulkana

13.3

15.6

-2.3

Homer

30.3

29.9

0.4

Juneau

29.7

33.8

-4.1

King Salmon

21.3

24.1

-2.8

Kodiak

31.9

32.8

-0.9

Kotzebue

1.6

1.1

0.5

McGrath

9.3

11.6

-2.3

Nome

8.5

10.3

-1.8

St. Paul Island

23.5

24.8

-1.3

Talkeetna

20.3

24.9

-4.6

Valdez

28.3

30.3

-2

Yakutat

28.9

32

-3.1

 

 

New daily temperature records were also set this month. Here we included a few other stations. Between the 4th and 9th of March, Bethel, McGrath and Valdez reported new daily maxima, while in the last 1/3rd of the month, Juneau, Homer, Bethel McGrath, King Salmon and Eielson AFB reported new daily minima. In the table below, new daily record low and high temperatures are listed:

Date

Station

Element

New Record

Old Record

Year of Old Record

03/04/13

Bethel

High Temperature

37

36

2009

03/07/13

McGrath

High Temperature

44

43

1949

03/08/13

McGrath

High Temperature

47

43

1965

03/09/13

Valdez

High Temperature

44

42

1980

03/20/13

Juneau

Low Temperature

9

11

2001

03/26/13

Homer

Low Temperature

9

10

1976

03/26/13

Bethel

Low Temperature

-22

-21

1977

03/26/13

McGrath

Low Temperature

-30

-25

1976

03/26/13

King Salmon

Low Temperature

-18

-11

1977

03/27/13

Eielson AFB

Low Temperature

-31

-26

2004

 

Precipitation

Precipitation varied widely (see Fig.2). Expressed as percentages, Barrow had the highest amount with 556% of the mean value with 0.50" of the expected 0.09". St. Paul Island (293%), Anchorage (228%) and King Salmon (214%) had at least twice the long term mean. On the other side of the spectrum were Yakutat and Annette in Southeastern Alaska with just above half (both 54%) of the long term mean. The mean value of all 20 stations gave a value of 36% above normal. As for the temperature, the precipitation and snowfall deviations for the different station are given in the tables below.

 

 

Precipitation

Station

Observed (in)

Normal (in)

Delta (in)

Delta %

%

Anchorage

1.37

0.6

0.77

128%

228%

Annette

4.36

8.05

-3.69

-46%

54%

Barrow

0.5

0.09

0.41

456%

556%

Bethel

0.78

0.71

0.07

10%

110%

Bettles

0.37

0.58

-0.21

-36%

64%

Cold Bay

2.67

2.7

-0.03

-1%

99%

Delta Junction

0.17

0.18

-0.01

-6%

94%

Fairbanks

0.26

0.25

0.01

4%

104%

Gulkana

0.51

0.3

0.21

70%

170%

Homer

0.96

1.65

-0.69

-42%

58%

Juneau

2.36

3.78

-1.42

-38%

62%

King Salmon

1.5

0.7

0.8

114%

214%

Kodiak

4.47

5.53

-1.06

-19%

81%

Kotzebue

0.37

0.44

-0.07

-16%

84%

McGrath

0.49

0.81

-0.32

-40%

60%

Nome

0.64

0.65

-0.01

-2%

98%

St. Paul Island

3.13

1.07

2.06

193%

293%

Talkeetna

1.24

1.05

0.19

18%

118%

Valdez

5.42

4.54

0.88

19%

119%

Yakutat

5.93

11.04

-5.11

-46%

54%

 

 

Snowfall

Station

Observed (in)

Normal (in)

Delta (in)

Delta (%)

%

Anchorage

20.6

9.9

10.7

108%

208%

Annette

0.9

6.9

-6

-87%

13%

Barrow

7.9

2.1

5.8

276%

376%

Bethel

5.8

8.2

-2.4

-29%

71%

Bettles

4.8

9.3

-4.5

-48%

52%

Cold Bay

7.5

13

-5.5

-42%

58%

Fairbanks

6.2

4.9

1.3

27%

127%

Juneau

9.4

11.6

-2.2

-19%

81%

King Salmon

11.3

6.4

4.9

77%

177%

Kodiak

11.7

11.3

0.4

4%

104%

Kotzebue

3.7

5.9

-2.2

-37%

63%

McGrath

7.2

11.3

-4.1

-36%

64%

Nome

9.1

8.9

0.2

2%

102%

St. Paul Island

26.9

8

18.9

236%

336%

Valdez

73.7

48.4

25.3

52%

152%

Yakutat

35.3

28.4

6.9

24%

124%

 

 

Records events, both for precipitation and snowfall, are summarized below.

 

Date

Station

Element

New Record

Old Record

Year of Old Record

03/07/13

St. Paul Island

Snowfall

6.38

2.5

1978

03/09/13

King Salmon

Snowfall

1.9

1.2

1959

03/10/13

King Salmon

Snowfall

4.3

2.7

1969

03/17/13

St. Paul Island

Snowfall

2.4

1.8

1954

03/22/13

King Salmon

Snowfall

1.8

1.5

1993

03/23/13

Valdez

Snowfall

16.9

14.4

1997

03/23/13

Valdez

Precipitation

1.14

0.78

1997

03/24/13

Anchorage

Snowfall

5.8

3.6

1972

03/24/13

Anchorage

Precipitation

0.42

0.33

1972

03/26/13

Barrow

Snowfall

3.1

0.8

1965

03/26/13

Barrow

Precipitation

0.27

0.07

1979

03/27/13

St. Paul Island

Snowfall

2.1

1.6

2006

03/28/13

King Salmon

Precipitation

0.31

0.19

1991

03/30/13

King Salmon

Precipitation

0.36

0.19

1969

 

The most surprising of these records is the amount of precipitation, which fell in Barrow on the 26th March. The amount of 0.27", which fell on this day, is 3 times the monthly long-term value for Barrow in March.

 

 

Newsworthy Events

 

On March 12th an air quality advisory was issued for Fairbanks and North Pole due to relative strong inversion conditions.

The Steese Highway, which had been closed at Eagle Summit due to blowing and drifting snow, was reopened on Sunday, March 24th.

A winter storm warming was issued for Anchorage and Eagle River on March 25th.

 

This information consists of preliminary climatological data compiled by the Alaska Climate Research Center, Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks. This summary is based on the twenty first order stations in Alaska operated by the National Weather Service. Extreme events of other stations are also mentioned. It should be noted that the new climate normals for the time period of 1981-2010 are applied for the calculations of the deviations, and they can be slightly different from the old normals (1971-2000), which were in use up until end of July 2011.