Saturday, January 17, 2015

Warmest ever?...

As noted earlier (Climate change? 10/18/14), not only was it very warm in Alaska, the entire year of 2014 was the warmest on record:
"Last year was the hottest on Earth since record-keeping began in 1880, scientists reported Friday, underscoring warnings about the risks of runaway greenhouse-gas emissions and undermining claims by climate-change contrarians that global warming had somehow stopped. Extreme heat blanketed Alaska and much of the western U.S. last year. Records were set across large areas of every inhabited continent. And the ocean surface was unusually warm virtually everywhere except near Antarctica, the scientists said, providing the energy that fueled damaging Pacific storms. In the annals of climatology, 2014 surpassed 2010 as the warmest year. The 10 warmest years have all occurred since 1997, a reflection of the relentless planetary warming that scientists say is a consequence of human activity and poses profound long-term risks to civilization and nature." (http://www.adn.com/article/20150105/2014-was-warmest-year-record-much- alaska)
And now, with the exception of a couple of days of minus 30F at the beginning,  Jan. is shaping up to be another warm month. That's OK by me, since I finally started getting out on the old Ski Doo to put in the dog trail. It's a lot easier to start the beast when it's above zero. One thing that's certainly noticeable  this winter, is that with all the rain last summer (The End of Thermidor 7/31/14) as well as the warmer weather, there are a lot more gullies forming in the trail. One new one is already 5 to 6 feet deep where it crosses the trail. I was able to reroute the trail over the shallower end, but it'll still make for an interesting ride with the dog team.


Taken last year, this is the area where the gullies formed this summer. Will try to get a current photo, if I can remember the camera next time out. (Did that!)

Here's a photo of the gully this year. Hard to see with the lack of contrast and low angle sun. The trail now skirts the gully on the right of the photo. Will get a better shot when the sun gets up a little higher later in the month.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Sun time...

The sun is noticeably higher now, even though it's been less than 3 weeks since the solstice.  One odd thing is that when the sun reaches it's apex , 3° now,  it's around 1 pm, not noon. That's because back in the 80's the politicians in Juneau decided we needed to be closer to Seattle time, so Alaska's four time zones became two. The Alaska Time Zone (UTC−9) was switched to Yukon Time Zone (UTC-8), which is one hour earlier than Pacific Time (instead of two). The Yukon Territory switched to the Pacific Time Zone in 1975 and the Yukon Time Zone was not used except for a small area around Yakutat. Then, just to confuse things a little more, they changed the name back to the Alaska Time Zone.
The state of Alaska spans almost as much longitude as the contiguous United States (57.5° vs. 57.6°) so the use of two time zones will inevitably lead to some distortions. A clock set to Alaska time in Fairbanks reads 12:57 at solar noon. When daylight savings time is applied in the spring, this effect becomes even more apparent as solar noon is about 2 hours off. That's why in Alaska it's often referred to as "double daylight time" during the summer.  Largely taken from:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alaska_Time_Zone.
Here's a couple of photos of the January sun.


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Heat wave for the new year...

Had another chinook blow through town and pushed the temperature up to the mid-thirties F the last few days. It even rained a bit yesterday. Supposed to cool down below zero by tomorrow night, so that's good. Can't abide by this warmth for too long.
Still not running the dogs. The Doc told me to wait a couple of more weeks to let the hip fully heal. So that's not so good, but as always, the time will pass and we'll soon have the boys out on the trail again. Until then, they get to run around the yard and play dog down.


Video by Andy (no dogs were harmed in making this).