Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Bitter cold in Alaska and Europe Although Alaska's -79°F Reading is Bogus

It was only in the -65°F range.
From Wunderblog:
Bitter cold temperatures gripped much of Alaska again this morning, and the month of January is setting numerous records for coldest January on record for much of northern Alaska. According to the Fairbanks weather office, here are the likely final rankings for January temperatures at select locations in Alaska during 2012:

Nome: coldest
Kotzebue: 2nd coldest
Barrow: not in top ten coldest
Galena: coldest
Bettles: coldest
Fairbanks: 5th coldest (coldest since 1971)

A major atmospheric jet stream pattern change is underway this week, though, which will bring more seasonable temperatures to Alaska by late in the week.

Figure 1. Departure of temperature from average as analyzed by the GFS model, for January 30, 2012. Remarkably cold air was present over northern Alaska, Eastern Europe, and Southern Asia, while very warm air was over the Central U.S. and much of Siberia.

European cold wave kills 58
Alaska isn't the only place suffering exceptionally cold temperatures this week. At least 58 people have died in the European cold wave over the past week, according to ABC News. Hardest hit was the Ukraine, where 30 people, most of them homeless, died.

Alaska's -79°F reading bogus
I reported in yesterday's post that a personal weather station located about 180 miles north of Fairbanks, the Jim River DOT site, apparently recorded a low temperature of -79°F Saturday morning (January 28, 2012). This is very close to the coldest temperature ever recorded in the U.S., a remarkable -80°F (-62.2°C) reading from Prospect Creek, AK (about a mile away from Jim Creek), on January 23, 1971....MORE
Brrrr: Arctic Oscillation Goes Deeply Negative, Here Comes Winter