The weather station of the island of Kodiak, Alaska recorded an air temperature of 67°F on December 26th, 2021.
Such a moderate condition in America’s Arctic state turned to be a warm spell, which reached the inland areas, turned the snow into freezing rain that made roads sheets of ice.
It’s a matter of concern, as this state is known for its cold, snow, and winter darkness. The weather station at the Kodiak tide gauge reached the 60s again Monday afternoon, and up to 55°F on Tuesday morning.
“In late December,” tweeted Alaska climate scientist Rick Thoman, “I would not have thought such a thing possible. That’s higher than the 1991-2020 normal daily low temperature of any day of the year,” Thoman added.
Experts say the warmth is due to a major, albeit relatively short-lived, shift in the jet stream, which is a river of air flowing at high altitudes that helps steer weather systems. Instead of dipping south of Alaska and carving out a frigid trough of low pressure, as was the case during parts of November and much of December, the jet stream buckled in such a way that allowed mild, maritime air to surge in from the south.
Computer models indicate that once the heart of the frigid air seeps into the U.S., another batch is likely to reload across Alaska and make its way southeastward as well. A large dip in the jet stream across Alaska and western Canada during the first week of January could lead to widespread unusually cold conditions across this region, based on computer model projections. In other words, residents of Kodiak might not want to get too attached to temperatures in the 60s.
ARTICLE: CHAITANYA DIVYESH PATEL
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: THE GUARDIAN