Alaska on track for its warmest year

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - According to climate scientists, Alaska is likely to have its warmest recorded year.

(KTUU)

“This weather is emblematic of not only the winter we’ve had, but the entire year," said Brian Brettschneider, a climate scientist with UAF's International Arctic Research Center. "The temperature eclipsed 50 degrees at the Anchorage International Airport. That's the first time that has ever happened in the month of December. "

Brettschneider said that two of the main reasons for the warm year is lack of sea ice and a warm north Pacific Ocean.

"There's a lack of Arctic sea ice, so when you have sea ice covering Beaufort Sea, Chuckchi and the Bearing sea, it really acts as a lid to keep heat from the water locked underneath that ice," Brettschneider said. "So when you don't have that, that warmth in the ocean is just liberating in the atmosphere so that's the most important factor."

Anchorage hit 51 degrees on Monday, which Brettschneider said is the highest temperature observed on any day in any year recorded between Nov. 27 and March 10.

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