In its hottest December ever recorded, Alaska was a stunning 15.7°F above the 20th century average. And the year ended with Arctic sea ice hitting an all-time record low.
While the East Coast had a cool December and New Year’s week, Alaska baked. Last Tuesday, Anchorage hit 48°F, warmer than southern cities from Atlanta and Jacksonville to Houston and New Orleans.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported this week that Alaska averaged 19.4°F for the month, topping the previous record (1985) by a whopping 2.1°F. “That’s really quite astonishing,” said Rick Thoman, the National Weather Service’s climate sciences and services manager for the Alaska region. As he explained to the Anchorage Daily News, “Usually you’re breaking those by a tenth of a degree or two-tenths of a degree.”
The Arctic as a whole was so warm in December that Arctic sea ice set a new end-of-year record low, as both the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) reported.
That darn La Nina!!