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2023 Annual Report
Alaska as a whole was moderately warmer than the 1991-2020 normal with a deviation of about 0.4°F. There were pronounced regional differences in annual air temperature: Western Alaska had a substantially cooler than average year, while the northern and eastern parts of the state were above normal. Utqiaġvik was once again the warmest of the selected First Order stations in relative terms with an annual deviation of almost 4°F.
Precipitation was regionally variable but mostly above average at the annual scale. The North and Interior continued an ongoing streak of unusually wet years. Only the southwestern parts of the state were slightly drier than the long-term average. Sustained drought conditions did not develop this year and only a limited region in the Interior was affected by abnormally dry conditions during summer.
The 2023/24 winter season in Anchorage has been the snowiest in over 50 years. For the 2023 calendar year, Anchorage recorded about 170% of normal snowfall. Fairbanks was also above average at almost 140% of normal, while Bettles and Juneau had slightly below or near normal snowfall amounts. The record snowfall in Anchorage was driven mainly by impactful storms in November and December.
The 2023 fire season started and ended relatively late in the year. Practically all fire activity occurred after July 24, when a thunderstorm with a lot of lightning sparked numerous fires. About 295,000 acres, mostly in the Interior, had burned by mid-August when wet weather ended the fire season. While Alaska had a fairly moderate fire year, neighboring Canada experienced a historic and destructive season with a total of more than 45 million acres burned.
Sea ice extent
Arctic Sea Ice reached its minimum extent for 2023 on September 19 at 1.63 million square miles. This was the sixth lowest minimum extent in the satellite record.