Alaska is going rogue on climate change.
Defiant as ever, the state that gave rise to Sarah Palin is bucking the mainstream yet again: While global temperatures surge hotter and the ice-cap crumbles, the nation's icebox is getting even icier.
That may not be news to Alaskans coping with another round of 50-below during the coldest winter in two decades, or to the mariners locked out of the Bering Sea this spring by record ice growth.
Then again, it might. The 49th state has long been labeled one of the fastest-warming spots on the planet. But that's so 20th Century.
In the first decade since 2000, the 49th state cooled 2.4 degrees Fahrenheit.
That's a "large value for a decade," the Alaska Climate Research Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks said in "The First Decade of the New Century: A Cooling Trend for Most of Alaska."
The cooling is widespread -- holding true for 19 of the 20 National Weather Service stations sprinkled from one corner of Alaska to the other, the paper notes. It's most significant in Western Alaska, where King Salmon on the Alaska Peninsula saw temperatures drop most sharply, a significant 4.5 degrees for the decade, the report says.
The new nippiness began with a vengeance in 2005, after more than a century that saw temperatures generally veer warmer in Alaska, the report says. With lots of ice to lose, the state had heated up about twice as fast as the rest of the planet, in line with rising global greenhouse gas emissions, note the Alaska Climate Center researchers, Gerd Wendler, L. Chen and Blake Moore. After a "sudden temperature increase" in Alaska starting in 1977, the warmest decade on record occurred in the 1980s, followed by another jump in the 1990s, they note. The third warmest decade was the 1920s, by the way.
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SOURCE: Alaska Dispatch