Air Temperature Evolution for the Last 10 Years in the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska

Monday, 15 December 2014
Dragos A Vas1, Horacio A Toniolo1, Richard Kemnitz2 and Joel P Bailey1, (1)University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK, United States, (2)United States Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management, Fairbanks Alaska, United States Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management, Fairbanks, AK, United States
The National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A), an area of approximately 23 million acres, extends from the north side of the Brooks Range to the Arctic Ocean. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), as a part of studies focused on establishing baseline conditions for weather and hydrological parameters, installed six weather and gauging stations along the NPR-A. This work concentrates on weather conditions, specifically air temperature. Data collected in each of these sites include air temperature (in all the stations), while summer precipitation and wind parameters were collected only at three stations. We present an initial summary of air temperature evolution in the stations, from the installation of each site to September 30, 2013. Available information indicates that the entire region followed a pronounced warming trend, finishing with the 2010/2011 winter, which was the warmest winter recorded in each station. A nearly 20 percent increase in annual cumulative freezing degree days (ACFDD) occurred between the 2011/2012 and 2012/2013 winters. A preliminary analysis of air temperature on a monthly basis shows that, in general, the months of January and March of 2012 contributed the most to the increase in the ACFDD. In particular, the mean monthly temperature in March was in the vicinity of -35 °C in all the stations, which certainly marked 2012 as the coldest March on record.