Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Anchorage, Alaska Hit 90 Degrees for First Time on July 4th

Climate
Anchorage, Alaska Hit 90 Degrees for First Time on July 4th
People wait in line for ice drinks at Delaney Park on July 4 in Anchorage, Alaska. Lance King / Getty Images

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.

A group of climate activists that have been cycling from the North of the country in stages to draw attention to the climate case are arriving to the Court of Justice on the day that the climate lawsuit against Shell starts in The Hague, on December 1st, 2020. Romy Arroyo Fernandez / NurPhoto / Getty Images

By Julia Conley

Representing more than 17,000 claimants who support climate action, the international organization Friends of the Earth on Tuesday opened its case against fossil fuel giant Shell at The Hague by demanding that a judge order the corporation to significantly reduce its carbon emissions in the next decade.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Eat Just, Inc. announced that its cultured chicken has been approved for sale in Singapore as an ingredient in chicken bites. The company has developed other cultured chicken formats as well. Eat Just

As concern mounts over the environmental impacts of animal agriculture, Singapore has issued the world's first regulatory approval for lab-grown meat.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Wildfires are seen burning out of control on November 30, 2020 on Fraser Island, Australia. Queensland Fire and Emergency Services / Getty Images

The world's largest sand island has been on fire for the past six weeks due to a campfire, and Australia's firefighters have yet to prevent flames from destroying the fragile ecosystem.

Read More Show Less
A plane sprays pesticide over the Wynwood neighborhood in the hope of controlling and reducing the number of mosquitos, some of which may be capable of spreading the Zika virus on Aug. 6, 2016 in Miami, Florida. Joe Raedle / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

A national nonprofit revealed Tuesday that testing commissioned by the group as well as separate analysis conducted by Massachusetts officials show samples of an aerially sprayed pesticide used by the commonwealth and at least 25 other states to control mosquito-borne illnesses contain toxic substances that critics call "forever chemicals."

Read More Show Less
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern plants a tree as part of Trees That Count, a project to help New Zealand make a positive impact on climate change, on June 30, 2019 in Wellington, New Zealand. Hagen Hopkins / Getty Images

The government of New Zealand declared a climate emergency on Wednesday, a symbolic step recognizing the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predictions of substantial global warming if emissions do not fall.

Read More Show Less