February was generally characterized by above normal temperatures and just slightly below normal precipitation. Although there was less monthly precipitation than the 30-year average, a trace or more of precipitation was recorded at the Seward airport 79% of days (22 out of 28 days). Winds were relatively calm with a monthly average wind speed of 7.3 mph. Over the course of the month, snowpack at Exit Glacier increased 20.1 inches; length of day increased by 2 hours and 16 minutes.
As recorded at the Seward airport, total precipitation for the month was 5.67 inches (94% of normal), .38 inches below the 30-year average (1981-2010) for the month. The monthly average temperature for February was 31.4 degrees F; 3.1 degrees F above the 30-year average. February 18th was the windiest day of the month reported at the Seward airport with sustained winds of 20.7 mph and a 5-second wind gust of 46 mph.
Also of note:
- The National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center’s three month weather outlook (March-April-May)favors below normal temperatures and normal precipitation for the Kenai Fjords area.
- The NWS Climate Prediction Center has a new interactive map that displays the 8-14 day outlook for Alaska and the continental U.S.
- An international team of scientists report that, between 2003 and 2012, arctic sea ice volume has declined by 36% in the autumn and 9% in the winter.
- New research published in Nature Climate Change discusses the impacts of lower sea-ice extent onmarine-atmosphere carbon dioxide exchange.
- NASA published a photograph of a research rocket shooting into the aurora in Fairbanks in February. Click here to see the photo and read more about aurora research being conducted through the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska.
- The Guardian provides a simple explanation about permafrost and the implications of climate change.
- Climate Central reports on research published in the journal Science that indicates that permafrost melting could begin sooner and be more widespread than previously believed.
- New research indicates that permafrost exposed to sunlight releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere much faster than previously thought.
- Nature Geoscience published research announcing the discovery of a long-searched for source of deep-ocean streams of cold water that help to regulate the Earth’s climate; their methods involved tracking elephant seals off Antarctica.
- Is there still hope that we can limit climate change? The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis says “yes”.
- The Federal Advisory Committee has released a Draft Climate Assessment Report for public review through April 12th and includes a chapter specifically addressing climate change in Alaska and the Arctic.
- The public comment period is also open for the EPA’s Draft Climate Change Adaptation Plan.
- NOAA climate services portal serves as a single point-of-entry for NOAA’s extensive climate information, data, products, services, and the climate science magazine ClimateWatch.
Read more to find out about the local climate for February 2013