Alaska’s size, its complex topography, and its sparse population make any generalization about the state challenging to make with confidence. This is particularly true of temperature, which is influenced by proximity to the coast, latitude, and altitude among other variables. The Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy (ACCAP), a CPO Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) team, has launched a new tool that makes it easier to understand temperature across the state of Alaska, now available on the ACCAP website. ACCAP’s new Alaska Statewide Temperature Index provides easy access to statewide temperature data by building an index of temperatures from across the state, and tracking that daily temperature index over time.
Built in collaboration with the Scenarios Network for Alaska and Arctic Planning, the new tool uses a statewide temperature index developed by ACCAP Climate Specialist Rick Thoman, and NOAA Climatologist Brian Brettschneider. The index uses daily temperature data from 25 Automated Surface Observation System stations maintained by the National Weather Service. Daily indices can then be compared to a baseline of average temperature data from 1981 to 2010. The project team hopes that this tool can help clarify the complex topic of Alaska temperature.