The ALAskA Climate Research Center is a research and service organization at the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Established and funded by the State of Alaska, the center conducts research focusing on the climate of Alaska and other polar regions. It also houses an archive of Alaska climate data. The primary concern of the center is to supply information concerning the meteorology and climatology of Alaska to public, private, and government agencies. It also assists researchers around the world.
Most of the climate data available for Alaska have been accumulated in Fairbanks and by the state cli-matologist in Anchorage at the Alaska State Climate Center. The Alaska Climate Research Center archives digital climate records, develops climate statistics, compiles monthly weather summaries, and conducts research on a number of high latitude meteorological and climate issues.
The center found itself in the spotlight of national debates over global warming in 2002, when a New York Times editorial praised Californian legislation that set stricter standards for CO2 emissions from automakers. The article cited a report by journalist
Timothy Egan about Alaska, claiming that a dramatic 7-degree increase in average temperatures over the past 30 years has led to "melting permafrost, sagging roads, dying forests, unexpected forest fires and disruption of marine life." The article concluded by quoting Alaska Republican Senator Ted Stevens's concern about "global warming's potential cost to his home state" and "Washington's indifference." The Alaska Climate Research Center entered the debate by issuing a note that challenged and openly countered the data reported by Timothy Egan. The statement read: the article Alaska, No Longer So Frigid, Starts to Crack, Burn, and Sag' written by Timothy Egan, stated that the average temperature has risen seven degrees in the last 30 years. This statement was repeated in an editorial by Bob Herbert of 24 June 2002. This statement is incorrect. The correct warming for Alaska is about 1/3 of the quoted amount for the last climatological mean 1971 to 2000 It should be pointed out that ... data [come] from first class weather stations, which are professionally maintained and generate high quality data. The three stations, Barrow, Fairbanks, and Anchorage, represent a cross section of Alaska from north to south. Further, Barrow, situated in Northern Alaska, which gave the largest temperature increase, is the only long-term first class meteorological weather station in Northern Alaska. All changes are based upon the time period 1971 to 2000 and are compiled from a linear trend.
SEE ALSO: Alaska; Climatic Data, Historical Records.
BIBLIOGRAPHY. Alaska Climate Research Center, www .climate.gi.alaska.edu (cited September 2007); "California Leads on Warming," New York Times (July 8, 2002); Timothy Egan, "Alaska, No Longer So Frigid, Starts to Crack, Burn and Sag," New York Times (June 16, 2002).
Luca Prono University of Nottingham
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