A warmth wave within the Decrease 48 cooked shellfish alive on Pacific Northwest seashores and triggered excessive-heat warnings in a number of states. Climatologists say it’s due to a dome of warmth that drove temperatures excessive above 100 levels Fahrenheit and even skirted part of Southeast Alaska.
Southcentral Alaska hasn’t seen that type of warmth. However might scorching warmth waves be within the area’s future?
Brian Brettschneider is a analysis bodily scientist with the Nationwide Climate Service Alaska Area. He says it’s difficult.
“A really brief reply is, in a warming world, we count on each place to have the next chance of seeing record-high temperatures,” he mentioned. “And the Arctic warms quicker than in all places else. So we count on these document highs to be much more seemingly in excessive latitude areas like Alaska.”
Brettschneider mentioned warmth waves are relative. What’s thought of scorching in Alaska is completely different from what’s thought of scorching Outdoors.
As of Tuesday, for instance, there was nonetheless an extreme warmth warning in place in components of Montana. Meaning temperatures might climb previous 105 levels and keep that manner for 2 hours or extra.
“That may’t ever be issued for Alaska,” Brettschneider mentioned. “It’s not within the toolbox of issues that may even be issued in Alaska as a result of it’s assumed that it may possibly’t get scorching sufficient right here to difficulty a warmth advisory.”
However whereas it hasn’t seen 100-plus-degree climate, Southcentral Alaska has seen its personal extraordinary temperatures. Brettschneider is predicated in Anchorage, which noticed each day data on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of 76, 79 and 81 levels, respectively.
“I might say within the southern mainland — so, say, south of the Alaska Vary — three days in a row the place it’s 75 levels … I might say that’s in all probability a warmth wave,” he mentioned.
Kenai temperatures have been comparatively excessive this weekend, too — within the low-to-mid 70s. However they didn’t set each day data.
Brettschneider mentioned it’s vital to take a look at long-term developments to get the complete image of how the local weather is altering. This summer time has been one of many colder summers the area has had in the previous couple of years. However compared with summers during the last a number of a long time, it’s nonetheless among the many hottest.
Local weather consultants took the lengthy view in a research printed this month, which discovered that the warmth wave within the Pacific Northwest was a “thousand-year occasion.” Meaning there’s a 1-in-1,000 likelihood it may very well be that scorching in a given yr.
“So in a manner, it is perhaps higher to say, ‘What would a 1-in-1,000 yr occasion in at present’s local weather in Alaska seem like?’ And the brief reply is, I do not know,” Brettschneider mentioned.
Climatologists say that the 1-in-1,000 quantity is adjusted to at present’s requirements. In a pre-warmed local weather, they are saying, the chance for such a warmth wave can be 150 instances decrease.