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Perils of an Endless Summer - The typical complaints from summer visitors has always been about the cold, the wet, or the lack of sunshine. Not this summer. No cold, no wet, just week upon week of blue skies and crazy record temperatures. It feels more like California than Alaska. It has been great for suntans, gardens, and swimming in the lake. But now, after months without significant rainfall, we are realizing it has been way too much of a good thing. On Sunday, record winds re-kindled wildfires across the region, stranding travelers and burning 50 homes and other structures near Willow. Siberia is also having a very bad wildfire season. The scale of their fires is hard to imagine with an area the size of Greece currently burning. Water shortages are making controlling the fires impossible. Here in Alaska, Haines is one of many communities currently struggling with water shortages, as high temperatures, no snow pack, no precipitation, and old leaking systems conspire to drain reservoirs and water tanks. Food security, in particular related to salmon is another hot topic. Michael Opheim's observation entitled, Jakolof Creek Fish Die-Off, is a must read. Jakolof (now dry for the second time since 2015) is the canary in the coalmine for stream conditions throughout the region. See also the ADN article about the Susitna Valley. In the backdrop are rivers, from Bethel to Kotzebue with very low water, very high temperatures and significant (but not total) die-offs of unspawned salmon. The old days with just one week of "summer" are sounding pretty good right now. Mike Brubaker, Editor

Siberian Times / August 14, 2019

Some 5.4 million hectares of land are ablaze across Russia, mostly in Siberia and the country's far east. Water sprayed by planes to fight the fires is ‘now as expensive as Champagne’.

Read article on Siberian Times



Willow, Alaska, United States
Michelle Theriault Boots / Anchorage Daily News / August 18, 2019

The highway remained closed north of Willow after the fire jumped the road Sunday, authorities said. The fire started Saturday afternoon when wind blew a tree onto a power line.

Read article on Anchorage Daily News



Haines, Alaska, United States
Henry Leasia / Alaska Public Media / August 16, 2019

Dry weather and low snowpack have reduced the amount of water in Lily Lake to historically low levels this summer. The lake is one of the main drinking water sources for Haines.

Read article on Alaska Public Media



Head of Jakolof Bay on Jakolof Creek
Michael Opheim / LEO Network / August 12, 2019

"Jakolof Creek is dry almost all the way up to the switchbacks and continues to recede. The early run of red salmon may have made it to the lake but that is probably the only run that has."

Read post on the LEO Network



Willow, Alaska, United States
Matt Tunseth / Anchorage Daily News / August 20, 2019

Two popular rivers are being closed to fishing because almost no cohos are making it upstream.

Read article on Anchorage Daily News



Cold Bay, Alaska, United States
Bristol Bay Times / August 17, 2019

One theory is the pinks were traveling somewhere else to spawn, and taking a longer than usual route to avoid warming water.

Read article on Bristol Bay Times



Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada
Jackie Hong / Yukon News / August 16, 2019

The Whitehorse fish ladder is seeing a slower start to the season than usual, with fewer fish than average having passed through at this point compared to previous years.

Read article on Yukon News



Egilsstaðir, East, Iceland
Senda skilaboð / RÚV / August 9, 2019

The south and west of the country are on course for a good harvest, as the sun has been a near-constant companion all season. Berry pickers in East Iceland are less optimistic.

Read article on RÚV



The Northern Climate Observer is published weekly by the Center for Climate and Health. We carefully track news coverage from across the circumpolar north and provide readers with a curated roundup of climate change related events. Thank you for reading our newsletter and for your attention to our changing world.

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