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Record-Breaking Heat in Alaska Wreaks Havoc on Communities and Ecosystems

Here’s why the US has seen tornadoes, floods and extreme heat in the past few weeks

If you feel like the weather has been out of control in much of the United States, you’re right. A weather pattern that stuck around longer than usual created a dangerous mix of conditions.

Millions of people across the country have experienced extreme weather for the past two weeks. There was unusual cold in the West, tornadoes and widespread floods have been slamming the central United States, and a record-breaking heat wave has been scorching the Southeast.

It’s not a coincidence. CNN meteorologists say it’s all tied to a jet stream pattern…

 

Record-Breaking Heat in Alaska Wreaks Havoc on Communities and Ecosystems

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This spring, temperatures in Alaska and northern Canada have been significantly higher than usual. Red indicates areas warmer than average while blue indicates colder than average. The darker the red, or blue, the greater the deviation from average. (NASA Earth Observatory) Read more: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/record-breaking-heat-alaska-wreaks-havoc-communities-and-ecosystems-180972317/#RQVCjsyc9Tj9hJgB.99 Give the gift of Smithsonian magazine for only $12! http://bit.ly/1cGUiGv Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter

Alaska in March is supposed to be cold. Along the north and west coasts, the ocean should be frozen farther than the eye can see. In the state’s interior, rivers should be locked in ice so thick that they double as roads for snowmobiles and trucks. And where I live, near Anchorage in south-central Alaska, the snowpack should be deep enough to support skiing for weeks to come. But this year, a record-breaking heatwave upended norms and had us basking in comfortable—but often unsettling—warmth.

Across Alaska, March temperatures averaged 11 degrees Celsius above normal. The deviation was most extreme in the Arctic where, on March 30, thermometers rose almost 22 degrees Celsius above normal—to 3 degrees. That still sounds cold, but it was comparatively hot…

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This entry was posted on 01/06/2019 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , .

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