Kenai Fjords National Park Weather Summary – April 2014

If there’s anything we learned from last month, it’s that we don’t always need April showers to bring May flowers, especially when there is little to no snow remaining on the ground. The dry spell that began in February continued through April with little precipitation recorded at the Seward airport. Without any late-season snowstorms to contribute to an already thin snowpack, the winter season ended with a mere 1 inch of snow on the ground as recorded at the final snow survey at Exit Glacier. This is the lowest May 1 snowpack ever recorded during the 26-year period of record for this site. This was considerably lower than the 26 inch normal and provides a striking contrast to the 50 inch snowpack that was recorded in 2013.

As recorded at the Seward airport, the monthly average temperature for April was 38.7 degrees F; equal to the 30-year normal. The total precipitation was 0.6 inches (13% of normal), 3.91 inches below the 30-year normal (1981-2010) for the month. The windiest day of the month was April 8th with a maximum daily average wind speed of 18.2 mph and a maximum wind gust of 39 mph.

Also of note:

  • The National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center’s  three month weather outlook (June-July-August) favors above-normal temperatures and normal precipitation for the Kenai Fjords area.
  • April 2014 was the first time in human history that levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide were higher than 400 parts per million for an entire month.
  • Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued a report entitled “Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability,” detailing current impacts of and future risks from climate change, and things we can do to adapt and/or reduce risks.
  • The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) released a report on Arctic Ocean Acidification andSnow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic: Climate Change and the Cryosphere.
  • A new study by the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and NASA researchers indicates that the length of the melt season for Arctic sea ice is increasing by several days each decade, and an earlier start to the melt season is allowing the Arctic Ocean to absorb enough additional solar radiation in some places to melt as much as four feet of the Arctic ice cap’s thickness.

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  • The spring edition of the Alaska Climate Dispatch is available. Check it out to learn more about Alaska’s unusual winter of 2013-14 and the role of the polar vortex in the extreme variability in winter weather across the United States.
  • Researchers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Caltech indicate that air pollution originating in Asia is intensifying Pacific storms.
  • The National Research Council released a summary of a 2013 workshop that explores the relationship between Arctic warming and mid-latitude weather patterns.
  • A new study published in Nature Communications explores the relationship between climate change and changes in the jet stream and implications for future climate
  • The Interagency Working Group on Ocean Acidification, of which EPA is a participating agency, recently released the Strategic Plan for Federal Research and Monitoring of Ocean Acidification to guide research and monitoring to improve our understanding of ocean acidification, its potential impacts on marine species and ecosystems, and adaptation and mitigation strategies.
  • 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 April 2014


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