Synoptic conditions during summertime temperature extremes in Alaska

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Cassano, Elizabeth
Cassano, John
Seefeldt, Mark
Glisan, Justin
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Gutowski, William
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Geological and Atmospheric Sciences

The Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences offers majors in three areas: Geology (traditional, environmental, or hydrogeology, for work as a surveyor or in mineral exploration), Meteorology (studies in global atmosphere, weather technology, and modeling for work as a meteorologist), and Earth Sciences (interdisciplinary mixture of geology, meteorology, and other natural sciences, with option of teacher-licensure).

The Department of Geology and Mining was founded in 1898. In 1902 its name changed to the Department of Geology. In 1965 its name changed to the Department of Earth Science. In 1977 its name changed to the Department of Earth Sciences. In 1989 its name changed to the Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences.

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  • Department of Geology and Mining (1898-1902)
  • Department of Geology (1902-1965)
  • Department of Earth Science (1965-1977)
  • Department of Earth Sciences (1977-1989)

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The atmospheric state and synoptic situation associated with widespread summer (June, July, August; JJA) temperature extremes in southern Alaska is explored. Using ERAInterim data and a self-organizing map framework, the evolution of the atmospheric state leading up to days that are defined as experiencing extreme surface temperature are compared with the evolution for non-extreme days. The variables evaluated include circulation at the surface and aloft and surface radiative fluxes. For warm extremes, blocking evident in the 500 hPa flow combined with anomalously large surface downward shortwave radiation allowed surface temperatures to become extreme. For cold extremes, an upper level trough and cold air advection aloft coupled with a more minor role of anomalously negative surface downward shortwave radiation were important. The self-organizing map framework allowed an investigation of these details beyond a composite analysis of all extremes.


This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Cassano, Elizabeth N., John J. Cassano, Mark W. Seefeldt, William J. Gutowski Jr, and Justin M. Glisan. "Synoptic conditions during summertime temperature extremes in Alaska." International Journal of Climatology 37, no. 9 (2017): 3694-3713, which has been published in final form at doi: 10.1002/joc.4949. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.

Fri Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2016