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 Located in the interior portion of Alaska, Tetlin Refuge enjoys a continental climate with low annual precipitation (10-14 inches). Daytime temperatures during the summer may exceed 80 degrees Fahrenheit with nightly lows in the 50 to 60 degree range. By mid-September, nightly lows drop into the upper teens and low 20's. Snow can occur at anytime, but usually not between mid-June and mid-August. During June and July there is continuous sunlight or twilight 24 hours a day. Complete snow cover occurs usually in early October and lasts through the end of April. Temperatures from November through February seldom get above zero and can drop to as low as -75 degrees. Fortunately, winds are uncommon during these very cold and dry periods. These conditions make the Upper Tanana Valley one of the coldest inhabited places in North America.

New Climate Monitoring Station Installed on Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge

Tetlin Refuge staff members have been working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to host a climate monitoring station on the Refuge near the site of the old Seaton Roadhouse. The station is part of a network of climate stations developed to provide high-quality, long-term observations of temperature and precipitation. Presently there are 8 climate monitoring stations in Alaska and 4 more are pending. The station on Tetlin Refuge was installed this fall and utilized some new technologies to cope with our severe weather conditions. First, to power the station during our cold and dark winters, a special methanol fuel cell was used for the first time. This system uses a catalyst that causes methanol and water to react creating an electrical current. The system also generates waste heat which helps keep the batteries warm. During the spring, summer, and fall the station is powered by solar tube panels which work well in cloudy situations and can receive light from all angles, even from light bouncing up off the snow. The new technologies used at our station will pave the way for future sites in the most remote parts of Alaska.
So far the station has worked perfectly during the coldest part of the winter and even recorded a dramatic warming period in February when the temperature increased 30° in a 15-minute period. Anyone can go on-line and view real-time data collected at the site by following this link: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/crn/station.htm?stationId=1779
Last Updated: Mar 05, 2013
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