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I thought temperature drops as you travel North, so why is Fairbanks Alaska sometimes warmer during June and July nights than many places in BC?

Question submitted by Justin Price (Vernon)

Essentially, Justin, if we didn't have an atmosphere and the earth simply spun around the sun as it does right now, then the poles would be very cold and the equtorial regions hot and the temperature would linearly fall off as you moved from the equator to the poles. However, thank heavens (!), we have an atmosphere and that atmospheric fluid allows for eddies and bubbles of heat to travel much farther poleward than you would expect. When the weather in the north (Alaska, Yukon for example) is much warmer than the south (interior of BC even) it is simply because the motion of the atmospheric fluid is carrying waves of warm atmosphere to these regions. As a forecaster, this is one of those times where the jet stream is a big player. That thin (see below) ribbon of very fast moving air at high altitudes will have migrated north, allowing those bubbles or pools of warm air to travel north. The warm air will linger in those northern regions until the jet stream falls south again.

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