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January 21, 2021
Alaska’s all-time cold record turns 50
Jan. 23, 2021, is the 50th anniversary of Alaska’s all-time cold temperature: minus 80 degrees Fahrenheit, recorded by a weather observer at Prospect Creek Camp. Now a clearing in the woods, Prospect Creek Camp was located near the confluence of Prospect Creek and the Jim River, just north of the Arctic Circle and about 160 miles north of Fairbanks.
January 11, 2021
Giant storms, big waves and chilly winds
…the Howard Pass weather station in the western Brooks Range recorded an air temperature of minus 33 degrees Fahrenheit. At the same time, the wind was blowing 47 miles per hour. That’s a windchill of minus 78 degrees. That inhumane condition is not unusual for Howard Pass, a relative low spot (2,062 feet) in Alaska’s farthest-north mountain range.
October 15, 2020
Cold tolerance not the same for everyone
A 9-year-old Carl Tape — now a seismologist at UAF’s Geophysical Institute — poses beside a thermometer registering 50 below zero Fahrenheit during a Fairbanks cold snap in January 1989.
April 9, 2020
Howard Pass an extreme, inviting place
Howard Pass, a rock-stubbled tundra plateau in the western Brooks Range, is one of the lowest points in the mountains that arc across northern Alaska. It is a broad gateway between the great drainages of the Colville and Noatak rivers. Scientists who have visited the lonely spot say Howard Pass is noteworthy for two reasons — it features some of Alaska’s most extreme weather and, curiously, the area has an abundance of archaeological sites.
September 5, 2019
Thermometers at work everywhere in Alaska
Every Alaskan owns at least one version of a sensitive scientific instrument: the thermometer. But what is it measuring?
August 29, 2019
Atmospheric rivers sometimes soak Alaska
Scientists have long noted these flood-causing/wildfire-relieving “long, narrow plumes of enhanced atmospheric water vapor.” If you were to study weather maps of the entire Earth today, you would see about 11 atmospheric rivers.
December 29, 2016
The rigors of research in the cold
When Fairbanks is 40 below zero, the safest place for field scientists is in front of a computer.