The West Central Region

The west central region of Alaska encompasses the region of maritime influence from the Bering Strait southward to cover most of the Yukon-Kuskokwim delta. The coast is bordered by sea ice in the winter, and the coastal areas to a considerable distance inland are treeless and (at least in the delta area) dotted with small lakes.

Although the mean annual temperatures are similar to inland sites at the same latitudes, the seasonal range of temperatures is much lower and the winds are much higher. This creates some interesting contrasts. Nome, for example, has a mean annual temperature almost identical to Fairbanks, but periglacial features such as solifluction lobes occur almost down to sea level at Nome, but only above around 3000 feet at Fairbanks.

Of the three West Central stations summarized here, Nome and Unalakleet are located directly on the open shore, and Bethel is on a river delta. None can be considered typical of the more inland part of the region. Bethel, which is both the southernmost and farthest inland of the three stations, is on average the warmest of the three by seveal degrees, but this is not always the case.

An adjusted regional temperature series was constructed by using the period of overlap for all three stations to construct a mean annual temperature for each station. Anomalies from that mean were then constructed for each station, the three anomalies for each year were averaged into a mean anomaly series, and the anomaly series was added to the three-station mean for the overlap period. The resulting series is corrected for missing stations, but not for changes at individual stations. The red circles are individual years; the blue line is a binomially weighted 5-point running mean.

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Geophysical InstituteInt'l Arctic Research Center