An early spring in Alaska • An early spring in Alaska

Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory illustrates how warm weather caused Alaska to jump from the middle of winter straight into spring.

March of 2019 was part of an ongoing warming trend across the state in recent years. According to the Alaska Climate Research Center, a high-pressure ridge developed in the middle of the month and stayed in place.

The hotter air temperatures combined with warm sea surface temperatures have significantly lowered the amount of sea ice coverage west of Alaska in the Bering Sea.

This image was captured over Anchorage on March 30, 2019 by MODIS on NASA’s Terra satellite.

Alaska is a U.S. state in the northwest extremity of the west coast of the United States just across the Bering Strait from Asia. The Canadian province of British Columbia, as well as the territory of Yukon, border the state to the east and southeast. Its most extreme western part is Attu Island, and it has a maritime border with Russia (Chukotka Autonomous Okrug) to the west across the Bering Strait.

To the north are the Chukchi and Beaufort seas – southern parts of the Arctic Ocean. The Pacific Ocean lies to the south and southwest. Alaska is the largest U.S. state by area and the seventh largest subnational division in the world. In addition, it is the 3rd least populous and the most sparsely populated of the 50 United States. On the other hand, it is by far the most populous territory located mostly north of the 60th parallel in North America: its population – estimated at 738,432 by the United States Census Bureau in 2015 – is more than quadruple the combined populations of Northern Canada and Greenland.

Approximately half of Alaska’s residents live within the Anchorage metropolitan area. Alaska’s economy is dominated by the fishing, natural gas, and oil industries, resources which it has in abundance. United States armed forces bases and tourism are also a significant part of the economy. 

By Chrissy Sexton, Staff Writer

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory


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