In July, Norton Sound water surface temperatures reached 68.2 DEG F on 7/10 and 69.3 DEG F on 7/11, which is about 17 degrees above average. The water was warm enough to comfortably swim in.
Observation by Jason Sebring:
Norton Sound was warm enough to swim in (comfortably). Local Residents noted that this was rare. Just found buoy data showing water temp hit 68.2 DEG F on 7/10 and 69.3 DEG F on 7/11 in Nome. That’s 17 DEG F above normal. See table below for average monthly temps. My grandma has lived there for 40 years and raised her eyebrows when I told her how nice the water was.
Comments from LEO Editors:
Alaska experienced unusually warm air, river, and ocean temperatures during the summer of 2019. In Nome, air temperatures were well above average for much of the year, including June and July. In July and August, warm air temperatures led to an increase in river water temperatures, and created stressful environments for migrating salmon. In Norton Sound, LEO observers reported fish deaths in rivers near Golovin, Koyuk, Kaltag, Unalakleet, Kotlik, Alakanuk, and St. Marys. In her observation from Golovin, Carol Oliver also describes water temperatures warm enough for swimming. Warm water temperatures are not limited to ocean surface however, and have also been observed on the sea bottom. During the NOAA Bering Sea Bottom Trawl Survey this year, researchers measured sea bottom temperatures in Norton Sound at 6 DEG C/ 42.8 DEG F in August. Erica Lujan
Rick Thoman with the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy writes:
Satellite derived sea surface temperatures for western Norton Sound were at or near record high levels for much of the late spring and and early summer due to very early sea ice melt and persistent warm weather pattern through mid-July. Stormier weather after mid-July allowed for more mixing of the upper ocean layers and so surface temperatures were not quite as far above the long term normal.