Alaska just saw its Warmest December Since Records Began

Steven Agar | | WeatherWeather
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A mother and her 3 cubs, AK, Sept. 2016. Credit: Josh Haner/The New York Times

Last month was the warmest December on record for Alaska, according to a federal report released Monday, reports the Anchorage Daily News.

The average December temperature for the state was 19.4 degrees, 15.7 degrees above the 20th-century average, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s report said, and a massive 2.5 degrees above the previous record in 1985.

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Melting sea ice, AK. Credit: NOAA

The report also noted that 2017 was the third warmest year on record for the U.S. as a whole since record-keeping began in 1895, but December in Alaska specifically “was really quite remarkable,” said Rick Thoman, climate science and services manager for the National Weather Service. Last year was also the seventh warmest year in Alaska on record. The last four years are all in the top seven warmest on record.

“There’s no comparable period like that,” said Thoman, “This is unique in our 93-year temperature record.”

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Average temperatures across the U.S. 2017. Credit: NOAA

Five states had their warmest year on record in 2017: Arizona, Georgia, New Mexico, North Carolina and South Carolina, according to NOAA. Alaska was one of 32 states last year where annual temperatures ranked among the 10 warmest on record.

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