After a cooler than normal April, it was a welcome relief to have May arrive and bring with it warmer temperatures and a taste of summer. Temperatures at the Seward airport were above freezing on all days except for four; the last day in May that below-freezing temperatures were recorded was the 15th. The most outstanding weather phenomena of the month were the clear skies and warm temperatures enjoyed around Memorial Day weekend which led up to an unbelievable 80 degrees F on May 28th. This set a new record high for the day, breaking the former record set in 1993 when it reached 74 degrees F. It should also be noted that this was the first time since July 2009 that Seward’s temperatures exceeded 80 degrees F. However, this was not the warmest day ever experienced in Seward during the month of May; on May 10, 1964 the temperatures soared to 83 degrees F.
As recorded at the Seward airport, total precipitation for the month was 5.74 inches (170% of normal), 2.37 inches above the 30-year average (1981-2010) for the month. The monthly average temperature for May was 44.5 degrees F; 1.88 degrees F below the 30-year average. May 18th was the windiest day of the month reported at the Seward airport with sustained winds of 18 mph and a 5-second wind gust of 39 mph.
Also of note:
- The National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center’s three month weather outlook (June-July-August) favors normal temperatures and normal precipitation for the Kenai Fjords area.
- The new National Strategy for the Arctic Region was released to identify and address priorities associated with environmental changes and implications for Arctic residents as well as the global community.
- NASA Earth Observatory captured imagery of the May 2013 eruption of Pavlof Volcano on the west end of the Alaska Peninsula.
- Research published in the journal Science indicates that from 2003-2009, one third of sea level rise resulted from melting mountain glaciers while the ice sheets and thermal expansion of sea water account for one third each.
- The USGS, NASA and TIME worked together with Google to release more than twenty-five years’ worth of satellite images as interactive time-lapse videos showing earth’s changing surface including the retreat of Alaska’s Columbia Glacier in Prince William Sound.
- New research funded by the National Science Foundation reports that the Earth system response to small changes in carbon dioxide is bigger than suggested by earlier climate models, evident from a terrestrial sediment core collected in the Russian Arctic.
- The phenomenon of arctic amplification, where temperatures increase twice as fast in the Arctic than in the mid-latitudes, is illustrated in a map of global temperature anomalies from 2000- 2009 posted on NASA’s Earth Observatory site.
- 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 May 2013