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An Interesting Change in Perspective

In the winter, Montana is colder and snowier than a lot of the US, such as Florida and the deep south. However, Alaska is colder and snowier than Montana. That isn’t surprising since even a place as far south as Juneau is still far north of Montana, not to mention a long distance away. 

Our latitude is 47 degrees 42 minutes north. The latitude of Juneau, Alaska, is 58 degrees 18 minutes. Juneau is over 1,100 miles from us, as the crow flies. By road, it is even farther away.

What is interesting, though, is when we compare pictures from Alaska and Montana, captured this morning.

Juneau, Alaska

Here is Juneau at daybreak. It looks peaceful and calm. Notice that there are only a few tiny spots of snow high up on the mountains in the distance. Not a big deal since this is, after all, July.

Fairbanks, Alaska

Here is Fairbanks at nearly the same time as the image of Juneau. Fairbanks is way north of Fairbanks. Fairbanks has a latitude of 64 degrees 50 minutes and it is over 1,700 miles from us. Of special note, there is no snow at all, and all the trees and bushes are leafed out. The grass even appears to be drying out. The temperature when this was taken in Fairbanks was just over 50 F.

Logan Pass, Montana

Again, this was taken about the same time as the other two pictures, but this is Logan pass in Montana, in Glacier National Park. It looks foggy because the clouds haven't yet lifted. Notice the abundant snow. It is melting, but the temperature in this location at the time of the picture was around 48 F.

All of this goes to show that temperatures and conditions aren't dependent solely on how far north you go. There are other factors that figure in. 

Despite being so much farther south than Alaska, there is still snow in July here, while there is no snow in many places in Alaska. Interesting, isn't it?

What do you think?

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Written by Rex Trulove

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16 Comments

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    • It definitely is that. That is one reason I just shake my head sadly when someone claims something about the climate as if it was definitive. What we don’t know so far exceeds what we do know that it is silly to claim that X will cause Y change in the climate. We just don’t know.

  1. Rex, As you say, many factors determine climate and weather at particular locations. You live on a continent, and at altitude, so must expect more extreme conditions that I would expect the get on my island to the east of the Atlantic!

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