Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My Ideal Climate

Being a weather nerd, I often ponder what the ideal climate would be for me.  Girdwood has its perks, but rain in the winter is no fun.  Case in point, after getting over two feet of snow in recent days, now it's raining.  So here are my criteria for my dream climate:
  • Cool, long winters, but not too cold.  Girdwood fits this pretty well, if only it was maybe 5F cooler in the winter.
  • Very snowy winters.  1,000" sounds good.  Girdwood gets about 250", but the mountains around Girdwood get near 1,000" at about the 3,500-5,000' elevation.
  • Changable weather, with pretty good fronts as a high frequency.  Although the weather in Girdwood is somewhat changeable, it's not nearly as changeable as what I experienced when I lived in Billings along the Front Range of the Rockies.  A bit too much of a marine influence here.
  • Mild summers, with highs in the 70s and lows in the 40s.  A fair amount of sun in the summer, but not so much that the vegetation dries up with lots of wildfires.  Prefer synoptic systems for rainfall, not thunderstorms, as lightning scares me.  If there has to be thunderstorms, have them be only on easily predictable days and not every day.  Girdwood is a bit too cool in the summer, and we could use some more sun.
  • Gorgeous fall colors with some trees.  There aren't quite the beautiful fall colors in Girdwood.  Anchorage has a bit more color, but is not as good as it could be because of the evil birch leaf miners.
  • Orographic weather.  There have to be at least decent sized mountains, at least 2,000-3,000' in my ideal climate.
  • And getting even more specific, I want a gentle north-facing slope in a small valley in the higher elevations of an area.  North-facing to keep the snow, a small valley to get some radiational cooling, and higher elevations to have more snow than surrounding areas.
So, does this ideal climate exist anywhere in the world?  Where is it the closest?  In Alaska, I think the Western Susitna Valley up against the Alaska Range would be my pick.  If only the NWS would put a new forecast office at Hayes River. 
What is your ideal climate?


  1. Hi Todd,

    Girdwood only gets 250 inches of snow, but the mountain above 3,500 gets 1000 inches. Seems to me you are so far north, it would be cold and not make a difference.

    Birmingham, AL

  2. Yeah, we're pretty far north. However, the Gulf of Alaska is nearby and is a fairly warm body of water, and our systems typically come from the south and off the Gulf, which keeps out climate awfully mild for our latitude. Girdwood is actually the furthest north temperate rainforest in the world.

  3. Thanks for your reply. Maybe some day I can visit Alaska.