The December heat record in Alaska is broken by temperatures that beat those of late October through April

A community in Alaska is experiencing unusually warm weather in December. This month saw a new record by six degrees, which also beat temperatures between October and April.

A lot of the Arctic is experiencing a sudden burst in December heating.

It reached 40 degrees in Utqiagvik (Alaska’s northernmost municipality formerly known under the name Barrow), Monday morning. According to Rick Thoman (climate specialist at the International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks), this is not only a record of six degrees, but also the warmest the region has ever seen from late October through late April.

It rained in Alaska over the weekend, which is not unusual for December, but it was not uncommon. Sunday also saw record-breaking heat. Thoman stated that Savoonga Creek was inundated and did not have snow cover. Nor did Teller, northwest of Nome. Teller is where snow is used to provide drinking water at this time of the year.


The Arctic was 11.5 degrees warmer on Sunday than the 1979-2000 average temperature. Computer models from Monday showed that the average to be 10.5 degrees warmer, according to University of Maine’s Climate Reanalyzer.

Greenland’s Nuuk was in shirt-sleeve weather on Friday, December 5, when it reached 54 degrees, 26 degrees higher than the usual high. It was 48 degrees in Kangerlussuaq (Greenland) on Friday, which was 34 degrees higher than the normal.

On Sept. 16, 2022, waves from the Bering Sea slapped a Nome, Alaska, jetty. (AP Photo/Peggy Fagerstrom, File)

Thoman stated that the entire Arctic was hot, with the exception of a small part of the eastern and central Canadian Arctics and a small amount of Siberia. Thoman spoke from Fairbanks warmer than usual.

Thoman stated that part of the problem is due to a system storms. This is probably just random weather. But, some of it is from lower sea ice than normal, which is human-caused global warming.

According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, the Arctic’s sea ice is sixth lowest ever recorded. Thoman stated that it is far below the normal, but that he has seen worse.


Because in Arctic areas, there is no sunlight in winter and the air is very cold, sea ice is important. However, if there is open water, it’s more warm than the atmosphere.

Thoman stated, “Think about it as a heating pad. It’s just emitting heat to the atmosphere.”

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Due to the reduced sea ice, the Arctic is warming four times faster that the rest of the world, according to Jason Box, a Danish Meteorological Service Ice Scientist who studies Greenland.

Box stated that some people may cry “come on it, it’s just the weather” “But, records-setting weather such as we’re seeing in recent years tells a true story of climate heating.”

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