Temperature difference from normal May 22, 2015 (Climate Re-analyzer, University of Maine)

Since Wednesday, high temperatures (well into the 70s) in Fairbanks, Alaska have outdone the highs (in the 60s to mid-70s) in Washington, D.C.

The Last Frontier is in the midst of an extended streak of record-challenging warmth that will continue through next week.

Alaska’s warmest temperatures, with respect to normal, have actually focused north and east of Fairbanks.

Barrow – Alaska’s northernmost city, located above the Arctic circle – has logged record highs four of the past five days, including a toasty 47 on Thursday. That’s some 18 degrees above normal.

Eagle, Alaska – located about 200 miles east of Fairbanks – has recorded six straight days with highs in the 80s.

A massive bulge in the jet stream over our 49th state has allowed a heat dome to build over the past several days.


GFS model simulation of upper level weather pattern shows massive ridge in the jet stream over Alaska (WeatherBell.com)

Andrew Freedman, at Mashable, explains the sequence of weather events leading up to this amplified jet stream configuration:

This upside-down weather pattern was triggered by a series of massive typhoons that formed in the Northwest Pacific Ocean, including Super Typhoons Noul and Dolphin. The Northwest Pacific has already had three Cat. 5 super typhoons, including both Noul and Dolphin, the latter of which topped out at a 160-mile-per-hour super typhoon.

. . .

For the jet stream, the storms can function as a kind of injection of steroids — causing it to amplify and contort itself into large north-south undulations.

The forecast is for this pattern to persist for the next 7-10 days, at least. So it stands to reason many more warm weather records will fall.


Ten day temperature difference from normal forecast from GFS model (WeatherBell.com)