Ask a Climatologist: Historic Southeast Alaska rains linked to a changing climate

The ground outside the AWARE offices on Glacier Ave. in Juneau is covered with debris after a mudslide on Dec. 2. (Rashah McChesney/KTOO)

Pretty much all of Southeast Alaska received record rain last week when a veritable fire hose of moisture hit the region.

The rain wreaked havoc in some places, causing sinkholes and landslides, most seriously in Haines, where the official search for two missing people was suspended Monday.

That unfortunate outcome marks a historic weather event, the likes of which we might see more often as Earth’s climate continues to warm.

That’s the opinion of National Weather Service climate researcher Brian Brettschneider, back for our Ask a Climatologist segment.

And while making long-term predictions on the frequency of landslides is complicated, Brettschneider told Alaska Public Media’s Casey Grove that forecasts previewing the atmospheric river which hit Southeast last week were spot on.

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Casey Grove is the host of Alaska News Nightly and a general assignment reporter at Alaska Public Media with an emphasis on crime and courts. Reach him at