Synoptic-scale patterns associated with daily temperature and precipitation extremes in Alaska are identified and evaluated for daily variability in order to understand consistency in forcing mechanisms associated with extreme events as well as the tendency for each pattern to produce an extreme event. Daily station data at five locations for the 29-year period from 1982-2010 are used. The widely recognized ClimDex indices are used to identify extreme high temperature, low temperature, and single-day precipitation events. Pressure patterns during extreme events are evaluated seasonally for summer (JJA) and winter (DJF) at mean sea level pressure, 700-hPa and 500-hPa geopotential heights. Temperature extremes are largely characterized by synoptic-scale patterns associated with substantial warm and cold air advection, and precipitation extremes are associated with moisture advection from the North Pacific. Extreme warm and cold temperature events are generally associated with a more consistent daily synoptic-scale pattern than precipitation is. Considerable dissimilarities among daily synoptic-scale patterns associated with extreme events based on location, type of extreme event and season highlight the need for careful consideration in the practice of applying synoptic-scale forcing patterns to forecast or downscale extreme weather events in Alaska.


DeLaFrance, A. and McAfee, S. A.. 2019. Evaluation of synoptic-scale patterns during extreme temperature and precipitation events in Alaska. International Journal of Climatology. DOI: doi:10.1002/joc.6006.