Holiday climate chaos: Alaska is warmer than Southern California this week

As parts of Alaska wiped out high temperatures earlier this week, meteorologists and climate scientists warned that extreme heat and rainfall were the new normal in the nation’s largest state as well as other arctic and subarctic regions.

On Sunday, the southern Alaskan town of Kodiak hit a temperature of 67°F – seven degrees warmer than the daytime high in San Diego – breaking Alaska’s December record of nine degrees, based on National Weather Service. The town also bankrupt Local record in December more than 20 degrees.

“I wouldn’t have thought that was possible,” said Rick Thoman, a climate expert at the Alaska Center for Climate Policy and Assessment. tweeted Tuesday.

CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller speak that “we’ve become a bit numb to these ‘unprecedented’ extremes in temperature and weather as climate change continues to drive what’s likely to happen globally.”

He added: “In and around the Arctic, this is especially true, where temperatures are rising twice as fast as the rest of the planet.

Warmer air is wetter air, because higher temperatures mean the atmosphere can store more water vapor. This explains why more intense rainstorms and floods are increasing with global temperatures, says Miller.

“Every degree of warming could contain about 4% more water vapor, and much of Alaska was 40 degrees or more above average in late December,” he said.

Parts of Alaska experienced record rainfall this month. CNN report Fairbanks was flooded with liquid-equivalent rainfall of 4.75 inches for the month – 10 times more than the historical average.

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A study published last month in the journal Nature Communications note that “as the Arctic continues to warm faster than the rest of the planet, evidence suggests that the region is experiencing unprecedented environmental change”, with “hydrological cycles … forecasted… will increase throughout the 21st century [and] increased evaporation due to the expansion of open water areas and more precipitation. “

The article predicts that the Arctic winter will have more rain than snow starting around the 2060s.

Extreme temperatures don’t just happen during the Alaskan winter. In July 2019, Anchorage Be recorded an all-time high of 90°F. In July 2021, a record heatwave during which Lytton, British Columbia, set a Canadian record of 121°F activated a 2.7-magnitude freeze, or “glacial earthquake,” near Juneau, the capital of Alaska, when temperatures of 92 degrees melt glacier ice then saturate the soil and rapidly solidify.

Wildfires – which accelerate global warming by releasing large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere – are also increase with Alaska’s rising temperatures.

Scientists also warn that the Arctic permafrost thaws in the northern regions of the state forming a “geological time bomb” set to release a potentially devastating amount of methane – a super strong greenhouse gas Whose emissions are approx 87 times stronger than carbon dioxide emissions over a 20-year period – into the atmosphere.

Read more about the urgency of the climate crisis: Holiday climate chaos: Alaska is warmer than Southern California this week

Huynh Nguyen

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