SOURCE: Anchorage Daily News

DATE: January 9, 2018

SNIP: Last month was the warmest December on record in Alaska, according to a federal report released Monday.

The statewide average temperature in December was 19.4 degrees, 15.7 degrees above the 20th century average, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s report said. Records for Alaska go back to 1925.

The report also found that 2017 was the third warmest year on record for the U.S. as a whole since record-keeping began in 1895. But December in Alaska specifically “was really quite remarkable,” said Rick Thoman, climate science and services manager for the National Weather Service.

“Alaska, of course, being the only Arctic part of the U.S. … it’s often referred to as polar amplification, that climate is warming much more rapidly at high latitudes,” Thoman said. “We are the U.S.’s canary in that coal mine.”

Last year was also the seventh warmest year in Alaska on record. The last four years are all in the top seven warmest on record.

“There’s no comparable period like that,” said Thoman. “This is unique in our 93-year temperature record.”