It’s been properly winter cold here in Oxford England- after a great summer and mild autumn. Which means the temperature dropped just below zero… But today our Oxford weather’s reverted to being the usual mild – specifically: cloudy at plus 7 degrees centigrade.
Whereas in Fairbanks Alaska, it’s clear and sunny at minus 28 degrees centigrade.
I’ve already mentioned the UK’s providential “temperate oceanic” climate situation; at the same latitude as say Calgary in the prairies of Alberta Canada, but surrounded with sea warmed by the Gulf Stream. Fairbanks Alaska is 15 degrees further north – on the same circle as Archangel in northern Russia and Reykjavik in Iceland.
Proximity to the sea determines winter temperatures, so as Fairbanks is 350 miles from the Gulf of Alaska, it can be minus 40, while at the port of Anchorage, it’s not even freezing. My correspondent in Fairbanks, visits friends there in winter wearing shorts, flip flops and tank top to make the point. Cold is an key determinant in Alaska…
Oxford misses out on much of the colder polar system weather that affects Scotland; and the wetter, rainy weather from the maritime tropical air mass that effects Wales and the south-west. But it’s a pretty dank climate – which makes us feel definitely cold…
I’d have thought my Fairbanks correspondent would be extremely dismissive of the idea of all us bespectacled, swotty academicians shivering and miserable when our temperatures drop below zero. Not so!
“It gets good and damn cold here. The psychrometric charts say 0% humidity once it drops below -28 C. So it’s a dry cold. But that damp cold you have goes right through your bones! I’m shivering at -23 C today, thinking about you under zero (C or F). Even in the summer the relative humidity will be zip here.”
So Fairbanks Alaska seems to me like it has a pretty healthy climate.
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