Annual Summary Report 2019

2019 Alaska Climate Summary

Statewide 2019 Year in Review

  • New temperature records were set: 2019 was the warmest year in Alaska since 1949, with a mean temperature of 37.4 °F, breaking the previous record set in 2016 by 0.2 degrees. All first order stations recorded positive departures from normal annual temperatures.
  • The Panhandle and Northeast Gulf were drier than normal, contributing to the most significant drought conditions observed over Southeast Alaska in the 20-year history of the drought monitor.
  • The southern coast experienced below average snowfall totals every month during the 2018/2019 winter season. Cold Bay, Juneau, and King Salmon received less than 60% of their normal snowfall. Juneau experienced below average snowfall totals every month during the 2018/2019 winter season. Nearly all stations in the Interior and Panhandle recorded less snowfall than normal in October because precipitation fell as rainfall due to unusually high temperatures that month. Conversely, Bettles, Nome, Kotzebue, and Utqiaġvik received above average snowfall for the season.
  • The 2019 Alaska wildfire season caused many residents across the state to be evacuated. There were 719 fires recorded throughout the warm season; 2.5 mio acres of land burnt. Poor air quality and low visibility was observed across the state. Alaska's statutory wildfire season was extended from Aug. 31 to Sept 30 because of high fire danger due to continued warm, dry conditions into September.
  • A new "blob", or large area of warm water observed in the Gulf of Alaska, named the Northeast Pacific Marine Heatwave of 2019, formed in May 2019 and reached its maximum size in August. It has since decreased in size and intensity, but is still one of the most significant events seen in the past 40 years. The 2014-1016 blob was linked to multiple fishery disasters.
  • The September minimum sea ice extent tied with 2007 and 2016 for the second lowest sea ice extent in the 41-year satellite record at 4.15 million square kilometers.