Utqiagvik, Alaska

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Utqiaġvik
City of Utqiaġvik
Street view of Utqiaġvik in July 2008. This street, like all the others in Utqiaġvik, has been left unpaved due to the frequent prevalence of permafrost.
Street view of Utqiaġvik in July 2008. This street, like all the others in Utqiaġvik, has been left unpaved due to the frequent prevalence of permafrost.
Motto(s): 
The Northernmost American City
Utqiaġvik is located in Alaska
Utqiaġvik
Utqiaġvik
Location within Alaska
Utqiaġvik is located in North America
Utqiaġvik
Utqiaġvik
Utqiaġvik (North America)
Coordinates: 71°17′26″N 156°47′19″W / 71.29056°N 156.78861°W / 71.29056; -156.78861Coordinates: 71°17′26″N 156°47′19″W / 71.29056°N 156.78861°W / 71.29056; -156.78861[1]
CountryUnited States
StateAlaska
BoroughNorth Slope
IncorporatedJune 8, 1959[2]
Government
 • City MayorFannie Suvlu
 • Borough mayorHarry Brower, Jr
 • State SenatorDonny Olson (D)
 • State RepJohn Lincoln (D)
Area
 • Total21.48 sq mi (55.63 km2)
 • Land18.77 sq mi (48.61 km2)
 • Water2.71 sq mi (7.01 km2)
Elevation10 ft (3 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total4,212
 • Estimate 
(2019)
4,467
 • Density237.99/sq mi (91.89/km2)
Time zoneUTC−9 (Alaska (AKST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC−8 (AKDT)
ZIP code
99723 [4]
Area code907
FIPS code02-05200 [1]
GNIS ID1398635 [1]
Websitewww.utqiagvik.us
English (Welcome to Barrow) and Inupiat (Paġlagivsigiñ Utqiaġvigmun)

Utqiaġvik (Inupiaq: Utqiaġvik; IPA: [utqe.ɑʁvik], English: /ˌʊtkiˈɑːvɪk/ UUT-kee-AH-vik,[5]) officially the City of Utqiaġvik and known as Barrow (/ˈbær/) until 2016, is a city in Alaska. It is the northernmost city of the United States of America and one of the northernmost cities in the world. It is located on the north coast of Alaska along the Arctic Ocean and is the administrative capital of the North Slope Borough. It is about 1,300 miles or 2,100 kilometers from the North Pole.

Climate[change | change source]

Barrow experiences a tundra climate with long, very cold winters and short, cool summers. Temperatures are below freezing from early October until late May. The high temperature is above freezing for only about 138 days per year, and there are temperatures at or below 0 °F (−18 °C) on an average of 145 days per year. Freezing temperatures and snowfall can happen during any month of the year.[6]

Because Barrow is located above the Arctic Circle, there are some days when the sun never rises and some days when the sun never sets. When the sun sets on November 18 or 19, it will stay below the horizon for about 65 days, until January 22 or 23. This phenomenon is called polar night. The opposite, midnight sun, occurs during the summer. When the sun rises on May 10 or 11, it will remain above the horizon until August 1 or 2.

Winters are extremely cold and dry with temperatures at or below -40°F/C sometimes occurring. Summers in Barrow are cool with temperatures in the high 30s and low 40s. There are on average 26 days per year above 50°F (10°C) and around 5 days above 60°F (18°C). Temperatures above 70°F are rare. The average yearly temperature in Barrow is 14.3 °F (−9.8 °C). The highest temperature recorded in Barrow was 79 °F (26 °C) on July 13, 1993 and the lowest temperature was −56 °F (−49 °C) on February 4, 1924. Barrow is warming quickly due to being in the Arctic. The Arctic region is warming at rate three times the global mean.[7] Smoothed data from NOAA shows that Barrow has warmed by more than 11°F since 1976 with average autumn temperature warming at a staggering 18°F (10°C).[8] [9]

Climate data for Utqiagvik, Alaska (Wiley Post–Will Rogers Memorial Airport, 1991-2020 normals,[10] extremes 1901–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 36
(2)
36
(2)
34
(1)
42
(6)
47
(8)
73
(23)
79
(26)
76
(24)
62
(17)
44
(7)
39
(4)
34
(1)
79
(26)
Mean maximum °F (°C) 18.9
(−7.3)
17.2
(−8.2)
17.4
(−8.1)
28.3
(−2.1)
38.2
(3.4)
59.6
(15.3)
65.6
(18.7)
61.4
(16.3)
51.2
(10.7)
39.3
(4.1)
28.6
(−1.9)
20.3
(−6.5)
67.5
(19.7)
Average high °F (°C) −4.1
(−20.1)
−4.4
(−20.2)
−2.7
(−19.3)
11.7
(−11.3)
28.0
(−2.2)
42.1
(5.6)
48.8
(9.3)
45.6
(7.6)
38.2
(3.4)
26.7
(−2.9)
12.6
(−10.8)
0.6
(−17.4)
20.3
(−6.5)
Daily mean °F (°C) −10.9
(−23.8)
−11.4
(−24.1)
−9.9
(−23.3)
4.6
(−15.2)
23.2
(−4.9)
36.6
(2.6)
42.2
(5.7)
40.3
(4.6)
34.2
(1.2)
21.8
(−5.7)
6.2
(−14.3)
−5.8
(−21.0)
14.3
(−9.9)
Average low °F (°C) −17.8
(−27.7)
−18.3
(−27.9)
−17.2
(−27.3)
−2.5
(−19.2)
18.5
(−7.5)
31.1
(−0.5)
35.6
(2.0)
35.1
(1.7)
30.2
(−1.0)
16.8
(−8.4)
−0.1
(−17.8)
−12.2
(−24.6)
8.3
(−13.2)
Mean minimum °F (°C) −38.3
(−39.1)
−39.2
(−39.6)
−36.1
(−37.8)
−23.3
(−30.7)
0.2
(−17.7)
24.5
(−4.2)
30.0
(−1.1)
28.6
(−1.9)
20.4
(−6.4)
−5.4
(−20.8)
−20.1
(−28.9)
−31.2
(−35.1)
−42.7
(−41.5)
Record low °F (°C) −53
(−47)
−56
(−49)
−52
(−47)
−42
(−41)
−19
(−28)
4
(−16)
22
(−6)
20
(−7)
1
(−17)
−32
(−36)
−40
(−40)
−55
(−48)
−56
(−49)
Average precipitation inches (mm) 0.14
(3.6)
0.21
(5.3)
0.18
(4.6)
0.18
(4.6)
0.28
(7.1)
0.43
(11)
0.98
(25)
1.09
(28)
0.77
(20)
0.54
(14)
0.37
(9.4)
0.22
(5.6)
5.39
(138.2)
Average snowfall inches (cm) 3.6
(9.1)
3.8
(9.7)
2.8
(7.1)
3.6
(9.1)
3.4
(8.6)
0.7
(1.8)
0.2
(0.51)
0.7
(1.8)
4.3
(11)
10.2
(26)
8.0
(20)
4.9
(12)
46.2
(116.71)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in (0.25 mm)) 4.6 4.6 4.1 5.1 5.1 5.8 9.1 11.5 12.7 12.2 7.1 5.7 87.6
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in (0.25 cm)) 6.4 6.4 5.7 7.7 6.4 1.7 0.6 2.3 8.9 15.6 10.6 8.2 80.5
Average relative humidity (%) 72.7 70.0 70.9 76.8 87.0 88.5 87.9 91.1 90.6 85.6 79.4 74.0 81.2
Average dew point °F (°C) −19.5
(−28.6)
−24.5
(−31.4)
−21.8
(−29.9)
−7.2
(−21.8)
16.3
(−8.7)
30.7
(−0.7)
35.6
(2.0)
35.2
(1.8)
27.9
(−2.3)
10.2
(−12.1)
−6.7
(−21.5)
−17.5
(−27.5)
4.9
(−15.1)
Mean monthly sunshine hours 0 84.75 186 270 310 300 310 186 120 62 30 0 1,858.75
Mean daily sunshine hours 0 3 6 9 10 10 10 6 4 2 1 0 5
Percent possible sunshine 0 33 51 54 43 42 42 32 30 23 13 0 30
Average ultraviolet index 0 0 1 1 2 3 3 2 1 0 0 0 1
Source 1: NOAA (relative humidity and dew point 1961–1990)[9][11][12][13]
Source 2: Weather Atlas (sun and uv)[14]

Transportation[change | change source]

Although Barrow is in the land of the North American continent, Barrow is isolated from any other city. There is no road connecting Barrow and other places in Alaska, which means that travelers can only get their by plane for most of the year. It is possible to get there by boat, but only during a few months in the summer time. In some cases, the temperatures during the winter time are so cold that people won't even be able to get in by plane since the fuel of the plane would freeze quickly. In that case, they would be stuck in Barrow for the winter and would need to wait for the temperature to warm up before they can fly out.

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "U.S. Board on Geographic Names". usgs.gov.
  2. "Directory of Borough and City Officials 1974". Alaska Local Government. XIII (2): 20. January 1974.
  3. "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 30, 2020.
  4. United States Postal Service (2016). "USPS - Look Up a ZIP Code". Retrieved November 3, 2016. Only "Barrow AK 99723" is accepted by the U.S. Postal Service for addresses in Utqiaġvik.
  5. Demer, Lisa (October 29, 2016). "Barrow's new name is its old one, Utqiaġvik. Local Iñupiaq leaders hope its use heals as it teaches". Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved December 18, 2017.
  6. "Summary about Barrow NWS Station". Archived from the original on 2012-06-03. Retrieved 2012-10-21.
  7. https://mobile.twitter.com/ClimateOfGavin/status/1276603997915426816.
  8. http://climate.gi.alaska.edu/ClimTrends/Change/TempChange.html
  9. 9.0 9.1 "NOAA Weather Data, 199-2020".
  10. Mean monthly maxima and minima (i.e. the highest and lowest temperature readings during an entire month or year) calculated based on data at said location from 1991 to 2020.
  11. "Station Name: AK BARROW POST ROGERS AP". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved September 11, 2016.[permanent dead link]
  12. "WMO Climate Normals for BARROW/W. POST W. ROGERS, AK 1961–1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2020-09-01.
  13. "Comparative Climatic Data For the United States Through 2018" (PDF). NOAA. Retrieved 28 July 2020.
  14. "Monthly weather forecast and climate - Barrow, AK". Weather Atlas. Retrieved April 7, 2020.

Other websites[change | change source]