What Is Alaska's Climate?

alaska-s-climate Credit: Lynn Wegener / Design Pics/First Light/Getty Images

Alaska contains Arctic, subarctic and oceanic climates. The climate in Alaska varies by region. For example, in Anchorage, the climate is much like the northern Midwest of the United States. The Interior, on the other hand, stays very cold for weeks at a time.

The climate of Anchorage and the southern coastal areas of Alaska is oceanic, which is actually more temperate than some U.S. cities known for having cold weather, such as Chicago and Minneapolis. The reason for this is the mitigating factor of the ocean.

The interior of Alaska is where the more extreme temperatures lie. Cities such as Fairbanks can experience minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit for several weeks. The cold is considered a dry cold, and therefore does not feel as cold as a humid cold, similar to how a dry heat does not feel as hot as a humid one. Most of Alaska has the subarctic climate typical of the interior, where extremes in both cold and heat occur regularly.

The northern part of Alaska can be described as a typical Arctic climate. Summers are short and cool, and winters are long and very cold. The average low temperature in July is around 34 degrees Fahrenheit.