Ask a Climatologist: For summer in Alaska, 70 is the magic number

(Graphic courtesy of Brian Brettschneider)

In other parts of the country, the temperature on a perfect summer day might land somewhere in the mid-80s. In most of Alaska though, the mid-70s are a more realistic target.

Alaska’s Energy Desk is checking in with Brian Brettschneider each week as part of the segment, Ask a Climatologist.

He said Juneau has had very few days above 70 this year. In contrast, Anchorage logged its warmest temperature of the year Sunday, 76 degrees:

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Interview Transcript:

Brian:  It had been 75 on June 1st. And that’s actually typical. Normally the warmest temperature for any given year for Anchorage is 76. So if we don’t have any warmer day, we’ll be right on pace for that tally.

Annie: What’s normal for the number of days above 70 degrees around Alaska?

Brian: Well 70 is kind of a magic number. It’s a threshold that everyone keeps track of. So for Anchorage, about 14 to 15 days per year — we’re going to hit 70. In Juneau it’s a little bit higher, it’s 20 days per year. But then once you get to the Interior those numbers jump way up. In Fairbanks, it’s about 55 days a year and then once you get to Nome and Kotzebue, it’s about five days a year.

Annie: And what have we had so far?

Brian: Here in Anchorage, we’re up to nine 70-degree days through this last weekend and that’s just a little below where we should be for the season. We should have had about ten. And then we should have on average about four more for the year. So we’re pretty much right on track, if we have a warm week, we can blow past the average annual total. So we’re right in where we should be.

Annie: Are there outliers in the state?

Brian: There are winners and losers. Down in Southeast, they’re having a cooler than normal summer. Juneau’s about a degree and a half cooler than normal for the summer and 70-degree days are far below normal. So they should have had 13 through July 25th and they’re only at three, which is really low. The lowest they’ve ever had in any season is two, so if they don’t have another one, they’ll only miss that mark by one day. So they’re not basking in the warmth the rest of the state has periodically had this summer.

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

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