As summer ends, daily high temperature records fall around the state

A dog swims in University Lake in Anchorage on Aug. 31, 2016. (Photo By Annie Feidt, Alaska’s Energy Desk - Anchorage)
A dog swims in University Lake in Anchorage on Aug. 31, 2016. (Photo By Annie Feidt, Alaska’s Energy Desk – Anchorage)

In climate terms, Wednesday marks the official end of summer. That’s because June, July and August are the hottest months of the year. And in Alaska, it was really hot this summer.

Nine communities around the state broke daily high temperature records Tuesday, including Kenai at 71 degrees, Bethel at 72 degrees and Anchorage at 74 degrees.

Brian Brettschneider is a climatologist in Anchorage who closely tracks Alaska climate data and trends. Alaska’s Energy Desk is checking in with him regularly as part of the segment, Ask A Climatologist.

Brettschneider told Energy Desk editor Annie Feidt that this summer is the warmest on record for the city of Anchorage.

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Interview transcript

Brian: For most stations in Alaska it’s been a top five warmest (summer). In a few places, like Fairbanks, it’s the tenth warmest. But very warm from north to south, from east to west.

Annie: Has Anchorage been the warmest, in terms of records?

Brian: Well, not so much in terms of absolute temperature, because we are on the coast and it’s always going to be warmer than the interior. But as far as why we’ve been warmer than anyone else, it’s really because of our proximity to the Gulf of Alaska and the much above normal water temperatures. And also, our low temperatures have been very, very warm compared to normal. We’ve had extended periods of time with low temperatures well above normal.

Annie: And talk about the last week, or the last few days. What daily records have we seen here, especially in Anchorage?

Brian: So here in Anchorage for Saturday, Sunday and Monday, we had high temperatures that were all records. It was 73, 77 and then 72. And that’s the latest we’ve gone into a season with three consecutive days at that temperature, so it really is quite unusual.

Annie: And what about the rest of the state?

Brian: There were a number of places in the state that actually set their warmest temperature for so late in the season. So up on the north slope at Barrow, and Nuiqsut and a couple of other places, they were well into the 60’s, mid to upper 60’s — again, never so warm this late in the season — they had a south wind, an offshore wind. And then along the Gulf of Alaska coast, places like Anchorage and Cordova and Yakutat and a few others, they also set their highest temperature ever measured for so late in the season.

Do you have a climate question for Brian? Email

Annie Feidt is the broadcast managing editor at Alaska Public Media. Reach her at Read more about Annie here

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