Map of Valdez area
Valdez station history
Valdez temperature history

Map of Valdez

Valdez area, from USGS map sheet Valdez, 1960 with limited revisions 1981. Squares are townships, 6 miles on a side; elevations in feet. Old Valdez was pre-earthquake site, current site is near shoreline in New Valdez.

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Valdez Station History

Located at the inner (east) end of Valdez arm, a doglegged fjord opening onto Prince William Sound in the Gulf of Alaska. The terrain is extremely rugged, with elevations over 3000 feet within 3 miles of the station, and peaks over 6000 feet within 12 miles. The entire city was relocated after the Good Friday Earthquake of March 27, 1964. Current coordinates 61 degrees 8' N, 146 degrees 21' W, elevation 23 feet.

There is considerable disagreement between the coded record and the LCD record as to station moves for this station. The station was opened 9/13/1909 at 61 degrees 7' N, 146 degrees 16' W, elevation 11 feet at the Billings residence on Sherman Street with standard instruments. Move to Jim Fish building on McKinley Street 4/1/18. Move to Copper Block Building, 9 feet higher, 2/1/22. On 3/6/23 move to SSW, either 3 miles, new elevation 490 feet (coded data) or 4 miles to the Power Plant, new elevation 100 feet (LCD). Move 3 miles NNE to Signal Corps office and back down to 12 feet 7/24/35. (LCD has 4 mile NNE move, suggesting disagreement is in location of power plant.) Move 0.1 mile WNW to Hobart and Leavell Streets 6/12/39. Move 0.1 mile NE and up 1 feet to Orphanage office 8/15/43. Move 1.5 blocks S 7/24/44, still at orphanage, temperature measurement raised to 6 feet. Move 1.5 blocks N to Goldsmith residence, Hobart Street, 5/10/46, temperature back to 5 feet. Move 2.5 blocks east and uphill 2 feet to Fawcett's residence, Court Street, 6/7/48, temperature sensor 4 feet. Move half block NNW to Butcher residence 4/18/52, temperature snesor 5 feet. Move 0.1 block SSE to Court Street 10/25/56. Move 1.5 blocks N or NW to Hobart Street, temperature increased to 6 feet. The town was essentially destroyed by the tidal wave and underwater landslide triggered by the Good Friday Earthquake 3/27/64, and data are missing from March 28 - April 6. The location from which data were collected from the rest of April through the first half of May was presumably this location. On 5/16/64 the station was moved 1.1 miles NNE and 45 feet uphill to the Kennedy office, presumably as a result of the earthquake. Data were taken at this site through 12/11/69. After a gap of slightly more than a year, data taking resumed 200 feet W and 11 feet lower (49 feet) at the Polar Airways office at Valdez airport. (The airport is still located nearer old Valdez than new Valdez.) Move about 3.5 miles and up to 87 feet elevation to Bank Building in new townsite 10/11/72. Coded data ways move was 3.5 miles E, LCD says 3.3 miles W. The move to the east would put the new location on the outwash plain of the Valdez Glacier with no buildings and no road access, so the LCD move is the correct one, as indicated also by the 6' increase in W longitude. Move 100 feet south and down to 28 feet elevation to Day Building 10/1/73. Move 0.3 miles SE and another 5 feet downhill to Radar Building 1/8/75. Move 0.4 miles SW to Coast Guard Building 3/8/77. HO6 series hygrothermometer installed 11/8/84.

Observation time initially 8 pm. Changed to 7 pm 4/1/18 and 9 am 3/16/23, both uncertain as to which or both instruments involved. Changed to 4 pm 7/24/35. Changed to 6 pm 7/24/44. Changed to 3 pm 6/7/48. Changed to 4 pm 5/16/64. Changed to 8 am 2/4/71. Changed to midnight 1/8/75.

Observer since 1972 USWS, cooperative observers before that time.

Record length good, data continuity fair, site continuity very poor and has contradictory documentation.

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Valdez Temperature History

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Geophysical InstituteInt'l Arctic Research Center