Snow in Alaska? — You’d Be Shocked


Does it snow in Alaska? In fact it does. However the actuality of the snowfall quantity that Alaska receives could also be far totally different from the favored idea of snow in Alaska.

Many individuals conceive of Alaska as a barren land the place it snows consistently in huge quantities and the place everybody lives in igloos. Such an idea makes Alaska sound like a chilly and white land.

In actuality Alaska has extra lakes, rivers, and inexperienced timber than does any state within the U.S. The state is very inexperienced and wealthy a lot of the yr. However the rainfall complete and the snowfall complete could also be a lot lower than it’s possible you’ll suppose.

Alaska Snowfall Totals

Listed here are some common annual precipitation and snowfall totals for a cross part of Alaska.

Anchorage — 15.37″ precip —- 69.0″ snowfall

Barrow ——- four.67″ ———– 28.0″

Fairbanks —- 10.37″ ———– 68.0″

Homer ——- 24.93″ ———– 58.0″

Juneau —— 52.86″ ———– 101.0″

McGrath —– 16.18″ ———– 93.0″

Nome ——– 15.64″ ———– 56.0″

Valdez ——- 61.50″ ———– 320.0″

By comparability Buffalo, N.Y., receives a mean of 80″ to 100″ of snow per yr. Some sections of upstate New York, equally affected by their proximity to the Nice Lakes, obtain a mean of 150″ to 200″ of snowfall yearly. Hooker, N.Y., obtained 466″ of snow throughout the winter of 1976-1977.

Minneapolis, Minnesota, obtained their heaviest seasonal snowfall complete of 98″ throughout the winter of 1983-1984.

As you’ll be able to see from the Alaska totals above, most of Alaska is comparatively dry, receiving much less that 20″ of precipitation yearly. The southcentral and southeastern coastal areas obtain far larger precipitation.

Far northern Alaska receives precipitation totals typical of a desert. Discover Barrow’s annual complete of solely four.67″ of moisture. In fact, most of that complete falls within the type of snow. Because of the ice beneath the soil and the shortage of intense drying sunshine runoff and evaporation are minimal. That is why northern Alaska shouldn’t be a dry desert regardless of the small quantities of precipitation.

Alaska Snowfall Data

It is at all times fascinating to listen to about extremes and so they can definitely be present in Alaska. For instance, Thompson Move, a preferred excessive ski and snowboard space north of Valdez, as soon as obtained a report 974.5″ of snow throughout the winter of 1952-1953.

Thompson Move recorded 62″ of snow throughout one single 24 hour interval in December, 1955. Throughout February, 1953, Thompson Move obtained a report 297.9″ of snow. That is virtually 25 toes of snow in only one month!

The deepest recorded snow pack in Alaska, and the deepest in all of North America, occurred at Wolverine Glacier on the Kenai Peninsula throughout the winter of 1976-1977. The depth was 356″. That is packed, condensed snow. Nearly 30 toes deep!

By comparability, Barrow, within the dry north, obtained a report minimal quantity of snow throughout the winter of 1935-1936 of solely three”.

Listed here are a few different extremes for complete precipitation. Montague Island in 1976 obtained a report 332.29″ of precipitation. That is virtually an inch of rain per day! However, Barrow obtained just one.61″ of precipitation throughout all of 1935.

Alaska shops an immense quantity of contemporary water in its glaciers. A tremendous 75% of the world’s contemporary water is held in glaciers worldwide and Alaska holds greater than its fair proportion.

Alaska has greater than 5,000 glaciers, overlaying in extra of 100,000 sq. miles. Alaska has extra glaciers than your entire remainder of the world mixed, excluding the ice fields of Antarctica and Greenland.

Valdez, the Switzerland of the North

Valdez lies on the southcentral coast of Alaska and receives a mean of over 300″ of snow yearly. Usually, there are 6 foot drifts of snow on metropolis rooftops. The canyon a number of miles north of Valdez is dwelling to a number of frozen waterfalls and makes Valdez a world-class vacation spot for ice climbers.

Thompson Move, additional north of Valdez, boasts a number of the greatest helicopter accessed excessive snowboarding and snowboarding terrain in all of North America. No surprise Valdez has been referred to as “the Switzerland of the North.”

Annually Valdez holds a Winter Carnival. Throughout the interval of the 1990 Winter Carnival the yr’s snowfall handed the 500″ mark. As part of the winter celebration the city showed the movie “Again to the Seaside” on a 20 foot by 18 foot “display” which that they had carved from a snow financial institution. Speak about an outside drive-in theatre!

What’s Snow?

Snow is crystalline frozen ice and the dimensions and form of the crystals rely upon the temperature of their formation and the quantity of water vapor current throughout formation.

Pure snow crystals are hexagonal, six sided. The essential water molecule consists of two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen and kinds a triangle of three equal sides. Throughout crystallization every new ice crystal bud is fashioned at a 60 diploma angle. Crystallization continues till 6 of those triangles are full. Because the crystal falls by way of the ambiance it turns into greater and greater and its six sided construction turns into the framework for extra advanced snowflakes.

Widespread types of snowflakes embody stars, needles, flat planes, columns, capped columns, dendrites, and irregular teams. Some snowflakes might be as giant as 1″ in diameter.

For probably the most fascinating human tales about snowflake analysis, take into account that of Wilson Bentley. He acquired the nickname, “Snowflake” Bentley as a result of he was the primary individual to a single snow crystal in 1885. He studied over 5000 snowflakes and declared that no two snowflakes are precisely alike, a quote that has been handed on from technology to technology anonymously ever since.

In 1931, the yr that Snowflake Bentley died, he printed a e-book entitled, Snow Crystals. The e-book contained over 2400 of Snowflake Bentley’s photos.

How Many Eskimo Phrases Are There For Snow?

It has been mentioned that there are 52 phrases within the Eskimo, Inuit, or Yupik language for snow. It is also been mentioned that there are 21 phrases, and it is also been mentioned that there are over 400. The place does the reality lie?

The concept that since snow is so essential within the lives of northern native peoples that there have to be a large number of phrases to explain it has attained the extent of a fable. The reality of the matter is that there are most likely about as many Eskimo phrases for snow as there are English phrases for snow.

Alaska Local weather Adjustments

Based on Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, “Alaska is harder hit by global climate change than any place in the world.” World warming has been a development for a few years, however only a few locations present as many penalties of the development as does Alaska. The typical temperature has risen almost 7 levels previously 30 years.

The adjustments attributable to a warming local weather imply, for instance, that the permafrost in Fairbanks and different cities is not everlasting. Land has been slumping because of the melting permafrost and hydraulic jacks are wanted on many buildings to maintain them degree. Additional north, in Barrow, there are actually mosquitoes the place there as soon as had been none.

On the coastal village of Shishmaref more and more greater water has been eroding away the land beneath the village buildings. The village might must relocate additional inland.

Spruce bark beetles have killed four million acres of white spruce forests on the picturesque Kenai Peninsula, the most important devastation attributable to bugs ever skilled in North America. The beetles have been in a position to reproduce at twice their regular price because of the greater summertime temperatures. The useless timber signify an enormous fireplace hazard round quite a few populated areas and prime leisure sections are threatened.

Glaciers have been receding at an unimaginable price. Portage Glacier, south of Anchorage, has retreated a lot previously 20 years that it’s not seen from the customer’s middle. Columbia Glacier on Prince William Sound is presently the world’s quickest transferring glacier, retreating 80 to 115 toes per day. It has receded extra that 6 miles since 1982.

There are nonetheless loads of glaciers and important snow in Alaska, however adjustments are occurring at an elevated price and may have worldwide results.