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Experiencing a summer heat wave with temperatures in the nineties is probably pretty normal for most people. But now imagine you live in Alaska. Not so normal anymore, is it?

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Alaska has just come to the end of a period of warmth that re-wrote the record books for multiple cities and communities across the state. And crazy enough, it was one of several jaw dropping climate events taking place across our largest state. This animated gif shows the build-up of extremely high daytime high temperatures across Alaska from July 4—8, NOAA Climate.

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Starting on the Fourth of July and lasting multiple days, temperatures across Alaska were 20 to 30 degrees above average in some locations. The average temperature in Anchorage during summer is normally in the mid-sixties. And the anomalous Arctic heat has not been short-lived. And three of those days broke or tied the all-time record! A large dome of high pressure sat over the region for more than a week, keeping clouds away and allowing for much warmer than average temperatures to persist. Over Anchorage, the average height of the mb pressure level in the atmosphere set a July record, and tied the July record in Fairbanks, according to Rick Thoman of Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy.

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Atmospheric pressure generally declines with altitude. A pressure level is the height above the surface at which the air pressure has fallen off to a given threshold, for example, mb. A dome of high pressure squatted over Alaska July 4—8,keeping temperatures high and skies cloud-free.

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The millibar pressure level—the altitude at which the air has thinned enough to drop the pressure to millibars—was more than a hundred meters taller than average during the period. Of course, this heatwave is also occurring against the backdrop of human-caused climate change. And Alaska has often been on the forefront of impacts from climate change. In fact, since the s, Alaska has been warming twice as fast as the global average, according to the Fourth National Climate Assessment.

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Since the late s, the statewide annual average temperature has being increasing a rate of 0. And starting in the s, record-high temperature have occurred three times as often as record lows. Simply put, record-breaking high temperatures across Alaska are not uncommon nowadays.

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Where to begin? June was the second warmest on record for Alaska. The hot temperatures were accompanied by dry conditions, creating the perfect set-up for wildfires.

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Alaskan wildfires have burned well 1. Nearly 1, acres have burned just since July 3. Numerous large fires billowed smoke across Alaska on July 8, Both Fairbanks, in central Alaska, and Anchorage, on the southern coast, were under the pall, creating unhealthy air quality. The smoke from those wildfires has drifted towards the major population centers and choked the air across southern western and interior Alaska, leading to the first ever dense smoke advisory for Anchorage and some of the worst air quality in the world in Anchorage and Fairbanks.

The smoke has made it difficult for the many people to cool off: air conditioning is rare, and opening the windows is a nonstarter. Meanwhile, the well above average air temperatures have also coincided with, and were likely influenced by, well above average ocean temperatures around the state as well as record-low sea ice in the Bering and Chukchi seas.

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Overall, the total amount of sea ice in the Arctic is currently running neck and neck withthe year which ended up with the lowest ice extent in the satellite record. These drastic changes to the Anchorage in Alaska, tied to human-caused climate change, have cascading effects throughout the Arctic.

The lack of sea ice can lead to increased storm surges, coastal flooding and erosion. The changing shorelines have already forced some communities to relocate. Warm summers and ice-free seas can negatively impact marine mammals, fish, and crabs. For example, warm summers negatively impact the survival rates of young fish species like walleye pollock.

The fish prefer a large summer cold pool of water at the bottom of the Bering Sea. Warm summers shrink this cold pool, jeopardizing young pollock's ability to survive through the following winter. The lack of ice allows the ocean and atmosphere to interact more, which can exacerbate ocean acidification; this drop in ocean pH due to the absorption of carbon dioxide which can affect marine mammal habitats, and the growth and survival of fish and crabs. A warming climate also is likely to increase the and size of wildfires across the state, degrading air quality and increasing smoke inhalation, both threats to human health.

But Alaskans are not taking this threat sitting down. Instead, many communities are taking action to reduce their climate vulnerability. In Homera city driven by commercial dating and summer tourism, government officials developed a climate action plan that included incorporating adaptation goals. For more examples of how communities in Alaska are confronting climate change, head to the U. Climate Resilience Toolkit for many more case studies.

High temperatures smash all-time records in alaska in early july

High temperatures smash all-time records in Alaska in early July Tom Di Liberto. July 16, Current Event Location. Share This:. December 12, Alaska: Last Frontier on the front lines. May 20, Alaskan North Slope climate change just outran one of our tools to measure it. December 6, March 11, You Might Like. Scorching heat bakes the Southwest in mid-June June 22, Western Drought Spotlight: Arizona.

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