The temperature exceeded 32 degrees Celsius in Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city, a temperature that marks a record all-time in a state where the effects of climate change are very evident.
The average maximum temperature for July 4 in this city of almost 300,000 inhabitants, located in the south of the state, is 18.3 degrees.
But on Thursday, the local U.S. Weather Service (NWS) office wrote on Twitter on Thursday that “Anchorage International Airport officially arrived at 32 degrees Celsius for the first time.”
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The previous record was set on June 14, 1969, at 85 degrees F, which is equivalent to 29.4 degrees Celsius.
First readings at the airport began in 1952. The 10 years earlier were made at another airfield in Anchorage, where the 32.2 oC were also registered on Thursday.
“Several other locations in southern Alaska broke the record for the hottest day,” the NWS said Friday amid what experts have called a “heat wave” on the entity.
In Kenai and King Salmon it reached, for example, at 31 degrees, surpassing marks from two years ago.
These exceptionally warm temperatures are caused by a “vast high-pressure area just above us,” NWS meteorologist Bill Ludwig told anchorage to the Anchorage Daily News.
While the new record may seem impressive, it’s not unusual to record very high temperatures in Alaska during the boreal summer, exceeding 30 Celsius, especially indoors.
The town of Fairbanks, located nearly 500 kilometers north of Anchorage, experienced a temperature of 37.2 oC on July 28, 1919. And more recently, on August 5, 1994, it reached about 34 degrees Celsius, according to NWS records.
The absolute record for Alaska reached the symbolic threshold of 100o F (37.8 oC) at Fort Yukon, in the central-eastern part of the state, on June 27, 1915.
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The Arctic area is very sensitive to climate change. According to scientists, Alaska is warming twice as fast as the global average.
“Between 1901 and 2016, average temperatures on the U.S. continent rose 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degreesC), while in Alaska they rose 4.7 degrees (2.6 degrees Fahrenhesian),” warned Rick Thoman of the Alaska Center for Climate Policy and Assessment.
The impact is devastating for coastal communities, made up mainly of indigenous people, whose villages are so deaf of erosion that many have had to be virtually moved whole, an AFP team found in April.
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Napakiak village, for example, has had to move its school and to the cemetery because of the rapid coastal erosion and melting of the “permafrost”, a layer of soil that used to be permanently frozen and on which many Alaskanative villages were built.
Global warming affects the traditional way of life of these tribes who depend on hunting and fishing. The thaw affects the habitat of many animals and the seasonal harvesting of berries that grow in the tundra.
Rivers that used to serve as roads in winter and spring to connect villages and move goods and goods are not freezing completely or break prematurely, leading to fatal accidents.
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