Fairbanks Area


Area Map
Fairbanks station history
Fairbanks uncorrected annual temperature history plot
Fairbanks uncorrected monthly temperature history plot
Recent daily temperature and precipitation plots and tables
Suggested corrections for Fairbanks
University station history
University uncorrected annual temperature history plot
University uncorrected monthly temperature history plot
Suggested corrections for University
Fairbanks-University comparisons
Fairbanks-Interior comparisons


Map of the Fairbanks area

USGS shaded relief map of the Fairbanks area

The cultural features on this map were last revised in 1960, but it is the most recent shaded relief map available for the area. The dashed red squares are 6 miles on a side, and elevations are in feet. White numbers give successive locations of the Fairbanks climatological station; the black "U" shows the location of the University station. Location "1" is within a few blocks of the Episcopal Church, where the University station appears to have been located between 1904 and 1911.

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Station Histories


Fairbanks is located at the confluence of the Chena and Tanana Rivers. Current coordinates 64 degrees 49' N, 147 degrees 52' W, elevation 436 feet. This station has severe station move problems. University (listed as Fairbanks until 1929) from 1904-1911 had all observers from the Episcopal mission, and was probably located at the site of the present Episcopal Church, a few city blocks west of the initial downtown site.

Downtown Fairbanks 1929-1942 (site 1 on map); moved 1 block during that period. Temperatures July through November 1933 doubtful; temperature sensor was at 60 feet and particularly in November showed a large discrepancy with University. Moved onto Ladd Field (now Fort Wainright) 7/21/42; site is at Badger Slough end of base (site 2 on map). The Badger Slough area is known to have low winter temperatures under inversion conditions. Comparison would be possible; Fort Wainright still records temperatures at the same site, and little local growth has occurred. Moved back to what was then the south end of town (Weeks Field) 5/1/43 (site 3 on map). City growth surrounded Weeks Field during 1940's, leading to contruction of International Airport 4 miles WSW of town and move to new airport 8/22/51 (site 4 on map). Change to HO 6 series hygrothermometer 8/12/63 involved sensor move of 140 feet ENE. Hygrothermometer was replaced by HO8 type 11/5/84 (change not shown on map). Instrument was moved an additional 1.25 miles NE 6/28/91 because of problems with snow removal equipment (site 5 on map). There is an apparent unexplained jump in relationship with other Interior stations in 1970 which does not seem to correspond to any reported changes except possibly the move of the calibration shelter (not the hygrothermometer) to a roof top location about that time. The effect may be due to airport construction, and disappeared withthe 6/28/91 move.

Observer USWS except for 1904-1911 period.

No missing data after 1929 and all observations at midnight (11 pm solar time after October 1983 due to change in time zones.) Potential major problems from site continuity and heat island effects.

Length good, data completeness good, site continuity very poor even in recent years. High apparent minimum temperatures from 1970 through 1991 are to be regarded with particular suspicion.

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Located near SW base of College Hill, near confluence of Chena and Tanana Rivers. (See map.) Current coordinates 64 degrees 51' N, 147 degrees 52' W, elevation 475 feet. 1904 through 6/30/1911 appears in fact to be the Episcopal mission in downtown Fairbanks, and should be considered part of the Fairbanks record. (All observers during this period were associated with the mission, and Archbishop Hudson Stuck's journals make it clear that travel was on foot or by dogsled.) Moved to Experiment Farm at 500 feet elevation July 1911. Elevation decreased to 475 feet August 7 1933, possible downslope move. Slight move ENE and 6 foot increase in elevation in May 1953 (consistent with slope.) Move 0.4 mile SW June 1 1959 with no recorded change in elevation, then 0.1 mile W and down 6 feet to current site near small gravel parking lot and farm buildings 10/6/66.

Early observation time not recorded. Observation time 5 pm by 1933, continued until switch to 8 am (actual 7 am due to odd time zone) June 1989. (Time zone change end of October 1983 made effective time 4 pm from then until 1989 change.)

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Mean Annual Temperature Charts

Fairbanks Temperature History

Plot of Fairbanks mean annual temperatures

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University Temperature History

Plot of University mean annual temperature history

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Geophysical InstituteInt'l Arctic Research Center