Here's something else to not be concerned about - probably a left wing
conspiracy by NOAA.

We already knew Alaska was having some crazy weather lately. That included
a record 91 degrees
Eagle in May, the “hottest temperature ever recorded so early in the
calendar year in our 49th state,” per
 our own Capital Weather Gang.

And now, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports
<> that the state
as a whole experienced its warmest May in the weather books. As the agency
puts it:

The Alaska
 statewide average temperature for May was the warmest on record in 91
years of record keeping at 44.9°F, 7.1°F above average. The warmth in
Alaska was widespread with several cities were record warm, including
Barrow and Juneau.

The consequences of this warmth were myriad, including much early year
melting of snow.

As we have previously reported, North America saw its t
lowest snow cover on record
 for May of 2015. And as you can see in the figure below, much of that was
due to anomalously low snow cover across Alaska:
[image: Rutgers Global Snow Lab]
Rutgers Global Snow Lab <>

So doesn’t this just mean Alaskans are having some awesome late spring and
early summer weather, and are going to get to spend more time outdoors
enjoying it?

Maybe, but there’s a major downside to new Alaskan heat records like this
one — which relates to how the polar amplification of global warming
actually make global warming itself worse.

If there’s less snow cover in the high north
then more sun reaches the bare earth, which is darker and absorbs more of
it, as David Robinson, a snow cover expert from Rutgers, explained last
week. And that increases the chance of thawing permafrost — frozen soil
beneath the surface.

Across the Arctic, permafrost soils contain massive amounts of carbon
Scientists think these soils are going to start emitting, and it
won’t always be a slow, steady process. Large bursts of carbon may also be
released in northern megafires
like one that occurred on the North Slope in 2007. As I reported in May

One region where wildfires could have a large climate impact is in the
forest of the Arctic. The fear is of a future featuring more fires like the
gigantic, “unprecedented
<>” 2007
Anaktuvuk River fire
<> that
consumed 1,039 square kilometers of North Slope tundra, single-handedly
giving off 2.1 million metric tons of carbon. And 60 percent of that, a
team of scientists found
<> in
2011, came not from vegetation but from the Arctic’s carbon-rich permafrost
soils, which the fire had burned away.

There’s no telling how hot Alaska will get this summer, but the state is
off to an incredible start.

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