Record spring temperatures

The last few months of warm weather is in the history books, with 2019 marking the warmest spring on record for Alaska.

“So it is the warmest spring on record, both for Fairbanks and for the state as a whole,” said Rick Thoman, Alaska climate specialist with the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy. The Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy is an organization that studies climate change and is based out of the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

For the purposes of recording the temperatures, spring is defined as the months of March, April and May. The temperatures are commonly mapped using averages, with the average temperature for this spring surpassing spring 2016, which held the record prior to this year.

“The average March through May temperature at Fairbanks Airport is 31.1 degrees and this year it was 39 ½, and that was a full degree warmer than 2016, a previous record,” Thoman said.

Thoman added that communities north of the Alaska Range by and large had their warmest or second warmest springs this year as well. Meanwhile, southcentral and southeast Alaska communities had temperatures ranking in the top five warmest for the season.

The warm spring does not necessarily indicate Alaska will have record summer temperatures. Thoman said it’s no coincidence, however, that the wildfire season had an earlier start this year.

The Oregon Lakes Fire, which began in April, continues to burn in Delta Junction. Fire crews have been working to protect communities in the area, according to an update from the Alaska Fire Service, and people can expect the fire to become more active as the fire season wears on. This week, lightning has sparked several wildfires in southwest Alaska and on the Kenai Peninsula.

Contact staff writer Kyrie Long at 459-7572.