Using climate divisions to construct anomalies and trends in Alaska

Climate divisions outline geographic regions with homogenous climate variability. Divisions are often used for addressing climate trends, drought and other seasonal/annual climate monitoring and prediction applications. Thirteen climate divisions were recently delineated for Alaska, potentially opening up new avenues of climate and prediction for the region.

In this study, monthly divisional average temperature, precipitation and snow were calculated using the Global Historical Climatology Network – Daily (GHCND) data set for 1920-2012. Analysis shows that divisional average temperature is reasonably representative of the monthly variability at historical stations within each division, with precipitation being less representative.

Preliminary analysis shows decadal variability within all of the new Alaska divisional time series, which is worthy of further investigation. Evaluation of divisional extreme events also seems plausible if employing daily data.

The results show that monthly divisional average temperature and precipitation enhances climate information for Alaska, which opens up new potential directions in climate research in the region.