Kenai Fjords National Park Weather Summary – May 2014

Unseasonably warm and dry conditions persisted throughout the month of May providing an early start to the upcoming summer season. Both daytime and nighttime average monthly temperatures were above normal for the month and resulted in a new record high average monthly temperature of 50.9 degrees F, exceeding the previous record high May temperature of 50.6 degrees F set in 2004. New daily record high temperatures were recorded at the Seward airport on five days, May 1, 2, 9, 10, and 17. The 17th was the warmest day of the month, reaching 78 degrees F.

The warm and dry conditions allowed for an early start to the growing season but also allowed for a human-caused wildfire to take hold on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge on the western part of the Kenai Peninsula. The total acreage burned exceeded 190,000 acres, making this the second largest recorded fire to burn on the Kenai Peninsula. Widespread smoke from this fire was observed in all directions on the Kenai Peninsula and beyond.

As recorded at the Seward airport, the monthly average temperature for May was 50.9 degrees F; 4.5 degrees above the 30-year normal. The total precipitation was 1.28 inches (38% of normal), 2.09 inches below the 30-year normal (1981-2010) for the month.

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.
  • Warm and dry conditions allowed for a large wildland fire to take hold on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula in May.NASA’s Earth Observatory provided satellite images taken early in the fire and a week later after burning 180,000 acres.
  • Seismologists at the Alaska Earthquake Center reveal that data within the state’s earthquake records include glacier calvings and can be used to study climate change impacts.


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  • New research published by USGS scientists indicates that an increase in melting permafrost is creating wetlands (known as fens) which are emitting large quantities of methane, creating a positive feedback loop that is contributing to further climate change.
  • The U.S. Global Change Research Program released the Third National Climate Assessment on climate change and its impacts in the United States.
  • NOAA explains how some regions can be cooling during a period of “global warming”. Read more…
  • Ocean acidification is already impacting certain marine organisms by dissolving the shells of tiny snails, called pteropods, which provide a food source for several fish including salmon and herring.
  • A new study published in Nature Communications reports that glacial melt may be contributing significant amounts of reactive iron into the ocean, leading to increased algal blooms.
  • A collaboration of federal, state and non-governmental experts recently released Climate-Smart Conservation: Putting Adaptation Principles into Practice to provide conservation guidance in a changing climate.
  • 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 2014

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