The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Anchorage, Alaska Hit 90 Degrees for First Time on July 4th
Fourth of July fireworks were canceled in Anchorage, Alaska Thursday as America's "coolest city" hit 90 degrees Fahrenheit for the first time in recorded history.
Alaska has had an unusually warm spring and early summer, The New York Times reported. It experienced its warmest March on record, and this June is likely to be its second-warmest ever. National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologist Bob Clay told The New York Times that the city could break its 85 degree record and see temperatures into the 90s Friday, Saturday or Sunday.
That milestone came earlier than Clay predicted.
"At 5pm this afternoon, #Anchorage International Airport officially hit 90 degrees for the first time on record," NWS Anchorage tweeted Thursday night.
The 90 degree reading came after the record was first broken with a reading of 89 degrees, KTUU reported. High temperatures were also recorded at unofficial gauges in Anchorage on Thursday: Merrill Field recorded 90 degrees and the Campbell Creek Science Center reached 91 degrees.
"This is unprecedented," Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz told The New York Times of the heat wave. "I tease people that Anchorage is the coolest city in the country — and climatically that is true — but right now we are seeing record heat."
The heat caused the city to cancel its fireworks display out of concern it would spark wildfires. Fires have burned around 650,000 acres in the state so far this year, which equals the amount of land usually burned in an entire season, The New York Times reported.
The Anchorage Fire Department announced a burn ban and said anyone lighting their own fireworks could face a fine, The Hill reported.
"Just a reminder per MOA Code 14.70.180 it is unlawful to knowingly sell, possess, or use any explosive fireworks or stench bombs to which fuses are attached or which are capable of ignition by matches or percussion, without permission of that municipal official charged with issuing permits for such activities," the department said in a statement reported by The Hill. "Violation of this section shall be punishable by a civil penalty of $300."
As the nation's fastest-warming state, Alaska is dramatically impacted by the climate crisis. Its temperatures are rising at twice the global average and its springs average two to five degrees warmer than they did 50 years ago, according to The New York Times.
The warming is melting sea ice on the Bering and Chukchi Seas, which disappeared weeks ahead of normal this year in some places. This, in turn, leads to warmer surface ocean temperatures as the dark water absorbs more sunlight. Surface temperatures are currently ranging from four to 10 degrees above normal.
"For sea surface temperatures, that's just astronomical," Rick Thoman, a climate specialist at the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy, told The New York Times.
Correction: A previous version of this article said the NWS tweet announcing the 90 degree temperature reading was sent Thursday afternoon. It was actually sent Thursday night.
- Fourth of July fireworks canceled as Anchorage looks to hit 90 ... ›
- Anchorage Has Never Reached 90 Degrees. That Could Change ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
John Paul Stevens, the retired Supreme Court Justice who wrote the opinion granting environmental agencies the power to regulate greenhouse gases, died Tuesday at the age of 99. His decision gave the U.S. government important legal tools for fighting the climate crisis.
By Elliott Negin
On July 8, President Trump hosted a White House event to unabashedly tout his truly abysmal environmental record. The following day, coincidentally, marked the one-year anniversary of Andrew Wheeler at the helm of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), first as acting administrator and then as administrator after the Senate confirmed him in late February.
By Tara Lohan
If you're a lover of wilderness, wildlife, the American West and the public lands on which they all depend, then journalist Christopher Ketcham's new book is required — if depressing — reading.
World hunger is on the rise for the third consecutive year after decades of decline, a new United Nations (UN) report says. The climate crisis ranks alongside conflict as the top cause of food shortages that force more than 821 million people worldwide to experience chronic hunger. That number includes more than 150 million children whose growth is stunted due to a lack of food.
By Adrienne L. Hollis
Because extreme heat is one of the deadliest weather hazards we currently face, Union of Concerned Scientist's Killer Heat Report for the U.S. is the most important document I have read. It is a veritable wake up call for all of us. It is timely, eye-opening, transparent and factual and it deals with the stark reality of our future if we do not make changes quickly (think yesterday). It is important to ensure that we all understand it. Here are 10 terms that really help drive home the messages in the heat report and help us understand the ramifications of inaction.
Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Senate Republican who has been a close ally of Donald Trump, did not mince words last week on the climate crisis and what he thinks the president needs to do about it.
By Marlene Cimons
Kyle Rosenblad was hiking a steep mountain on the island of Maui in the summer of 2015 when he noticed a ruggedly beautiful tree species scattered around the landscape. Curious, and wondering what they were, he took some photographs and showed them to a friend. They were Bermuda cedars, a species native to the island of Bermuda, first planted on Maui in the early 1900s.