Everybody Talks About the Weather


Sure, everybody talks about the weather. Well, maybe not in Hawai’i, where it’s the same bland perfection, day after day. But in Alaska, it’s different. In Alaska, the weather is something to talk about. Especially this year. Especially in the Interior.

We’ve already had the all-time rainiest summer in Fairbanks, ever. It’s official:

2.29 inches of rain fell at the Fairbanks Airport during the month of August which was 0.41 inches above the normal August rainfall of 1.88 inches. This was the third month of above normal rainfall in the Fairbanks area. Although August 2014 only ranked as the 33 wettest of 108 years of record…combined with June and July the Summer of 2014 ranked as the wettest on record with an incredible 11.62 inches of rain falling at the Fairbanks Airport. This is 215 percent of the normal Summer rainfall of 5.40 inches.

And, of course, we opened September by shattering the previous record for most rainfall on September 1. The old record was 0.69 inches; September 1, 2014 offered 1.43 inches of rain.

Now WC freely admits that one miserably wet summer is weather, not climate. A single data point doesn’t describe a line.

But climate modeling predicts that the effect of global warming on our part of Alaska means significantly more rainfall. And significantly more extreme events, such as we “enjoyed” September 1. Back in July, WC pointed to two NOAA charts illustrating current climate predictions for North America. The extreme event chart is the most concerning:

Figure 2.19: Maps show the increase in frequency of extreme daily precipitation events (a daily amount that now occurs once in 20 years) by the later part of this century (2081-2100) compared to the later part of last century (1981-2000). Such extreme events are projected to occur more frequently everywhere in the United States. Under the rapid emissions reduction scenario (RCP 2.6), these events would occur nearly twice as often. For the scenario assuming continued increases in emissions (RCP 8.5), these events would occur up to five times as often. (Figure source: NOAA NCDC / CICS-NC).

Figure 2.19: Maps show the increase in frequency of extreme daily precipitation events (a daily amount that now occurs once in 20 years) by the later part of this century (2081-2100) compared to the later part of last century (1981-2000). Such extreme events are projected to occur more frequently everywhere in the United States. Under the rapid emissions reduction scenario (RCP 2.6), these events would occur nearly twice as often. For the scenario assuming continued increases in emissions (RCP 8.5), these events would occur up to five times as often. (Figure source: NOAA NCDC / CICS-NC).

WC concludes that here in Alaska we’re not just talking about the weather; we’re doing something about it! Not just by injecting vast amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere, but also exporting fossil fuels and planning to export still more, we’re doing something about the weather, too. Specifically, we’re working at making it rainier still.

Not something helpful, WC admits. Not something beneficial to Alaska. But, by Inhofe, we’re doing something about it.

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