Average Weather in Fairbanks Alaska, United States
In Fairbanks, the summers are long, comfortable, and mostly cloudy and the winters are long, frigid, snowy, and partly cloudy. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from -13°F to 73°F and is rarely below -39°F or above 83°F.
The warm season lasts for 3.9 months, from May 11 to September 9, with an average daily high temperature above 59°F. The hottest day of the year is July 3, with an average high of 73°F and low of 54°F.
The cold season lasts for 3.7 months, from November 7 to February 26, with an average daily high temperature below 16°F. The coldest day of the year is January 18, with an average low of -13°F and high of 2°F.
Average High and Low Temperature
The figure below shows you a compact characterization of the entire year of hourly average temperatures. The horizontal axis is the day of the year, the vertical axis is the hour of the day, and the color is the average temperature for that hour and day.
Average Hourly Temperature
In Fairbanks, the average percentage of the sky covered by clouds experiences mild seasonal variation over the course of the year.
The clearer part of the year in Fairbanks begins around February 14 and lasts for 1.8 months, ending around April 9. On March 15, the clearest day of the year, the sky is clear, mostly clear, or partly cloudy 46% of the time, and overcast or mostly cloudy 54% of the time.
The cloudier part of the year begins around April 9 and lasts for 10 months, ending around February 14. On September 25, the cloudiest day of the year, the sky is overcast or mostly cloudy 65% of the time, and clear, mostly clear, or partly cloudy 35% of the time.
A wet day is one with at least 0.04 inches of liquid or liquid-equivalent precipitation. The chance of wet days in Fairbanks varies throughout the year.
The wetter season lasts 4.5 months, from May 27 to October 11, with a greater than 18% chance of a given day being a wet day. The chance of a wet day peaks at 31% on August 6.
The drier season lasts 7.5 months, from October 11 to May 27. The smallest chance of a wet day is 5% on March 18.
Among wet days, we distinguish between those that experience rain alone, snow alone, or a mixture of the two. Based on this categorization, the most common form of precipitation in Fairbanks changes throughout the year.
Rain alone is the most common for 6.1 months, from April 13 to October 15. The highest chance of a day with rain alone is 31% on August 6.
Snow alone is the most common for 5.9 months, from October 15 to April 13. The highest chance of a day with snow alone is 13% on January 3.
Daily Chance of Precipitation
To show variation within the months and not just the monthly totals, we show the rainfall accumulated over a sliding 31-day period centered around each day of the year. Fairbanks experiences significant seasonal variation in monthly rainfall.
The rainy period of the year lasts for 5.3 months, from May 6 to October 16, with a sliding 31-day rainfall of at least 0.5 inches. The most rain falls during the 31 days centered around July 15, with an average total accumulation of 2.4 inches.
The rainless period of the year lasts for 6.7 months, from October 16 to May 6. The least rain falls around March 3, with and average total accumulation of 0.0 inches.
Average Monthly Rainfall
We report snowfall in liquid-equivalent terms. The actual depth of new snowfall is typically between 5 and 10 times the liquid-equivalent amount, assuming the ground is frozen. Colder, drier snow tends to be on the higher end of that range and warmer, wetter snow on the lower end.
As with rainfall, we consider the snowfall accumulated over a sliding 31-day period centered around each day of the year. Fairbanks experiences some seasonal variation in monthly liquid-equivalent snowfall.
The snowy period of the year lasts for 6.9 months, from September 23 to April 21, with a sliding 31-day liquid-equivalent snowfall of at least 0.1 inches. The most snow falls during the 31 days centered around December 25, with an average total liquid-equivalent accumulation of 0.5 inches.
The snowless period of the year lasts for 5.1 months, from April 21 to September 23. The least snow falls around July 16, with an average total liquid-equivalent accumulation of 0.0 inches.
Average Liquid-Equivalent Monthly Snowfall
The length of the day in Fairbanks varies extremely over the course of the year. In 2017, the shortest day is December 21, with 3 hours, 41 minutes of daylight; the longest day is June 21, with 21 hours, 51 minutes of daylight.
Hours of Daylight and Twilight
The earliest sunrise is at 2:57 AM on June 20, and the latest sunrise is 8 hours, 2 minutes later at 10:59 AM on December 24. The earliest sunset is at 2:39 PM on December 18, and the latest sunset is 10 hours, 9 minutes later at 12:47 AM on June 21.
Daylight saving time (DST) is observed in Fairbanks during 2017, starting in the spring on March 12, lasting 7.8 months, and ending in the fall on November 5.
Sunrise & Sunset with Twilight and Daylight Saving Time
We base the humidity comfort level on the dew point, as it determines whether perspiration will evaporate from the skin, thereby cooling the body. Lower dew points feel drier and higher dew points feel more humid. Unlike temperature, which typically varies significantly between night and day, dew point tends to change more slowly, so while the temperature may drop at night, a muggy day is typically followed by a muggy night.
The perceived humidity level in Fairbanks, as measured by the percentage of time in which the humidity comfort level is muggy, oppressive, or miserable, does not vary significantly over the course of the year, remaining a virtually constant 0% throughout.
Humidity Comfort Levels
This section discusses the wide-area hourly average wind vector (speed and direction) at 10 meters above the ground. The wind experienced at any given location is highly dependent on local topography and other factors, and instantaneous wind speed and direction vary more widely than hourly averages.
The average hourly wind speed in Fairbanks experiences mild seasonal variation over the course of the year.
The windier part of the year lasts for 4.7 months, from November 8 to March 31, with average wind speeds of more than 3.3 miles per hour. The windiest day of the year is January 9, with an average hourly wind speed of 4.2 miles per hour.
The calmer time of year lasts for 7.3 months, from March 31 to November 8. The calmest day of the year is July 14, with an average hourly wind speed of 2.5 miles per hour.
Average Wind Speed
The predominant average hourly wind direction in Fairbanks varies throughout the year.
The wind is most often from the west for 3.5 months, from May 18 to September 2, with a peak percentage of 51% on July 6. The wind is most often from the east for 8.5 months, from September 2 to May 18, with a peak percentage of 71% on January 1.
This section discusses the total daily incident shortwave solar energy reaching the surface of the ground over a wide area, taking full account of seasonal variations in the length of the day, the elevation of the Sun above the horizon, and absorption by clouds and other atmospheric constituents. Shortwave radiation includes visible light and ultraviolet radiation.
The average daily incident shortwave solar energy experiences extreme seasonal variation over the course of the year.
The brighter period of the year lasts for 3.1 months, from April 28 to August 1, with an average daily incident shortwave energy per square meter above 4.5 kWh. The brightest day of the year is June 21, with an average of 5.7 kWh.
The darker period of the year lasts for 4.5 months, from October 12 to February 25, with an average daily incident shortwave energy per square meter below 1.2 kWh. The darkest day of the year is December 22, with an average of 0.0 kWh.
Average Daily Incident Shortwave Solar Energy
For the purposes of this report, the geographical coordinates of Fairbanks are 64.838 deg latitude, -147.716 deg longitude, and 446 ft elevation.
The topography within 2 miles of Fairbanks is essentially flat, with a maximum elevation change of 23 feet and an average elevation above sea level of 444 feet. Within 10 miles is essentially flat (1,801 feet). Within 50 miles contains very significant variations in elevation (4,357 feet).
The area within 2 miles of Fairbanks is covered by artificial surfaces (66%) and sparse vegetation (26%), within 10 miles by trees (62%) and herbaceous vegetation (17%), and within 50 miles by trees (66%) and shrubs (17%).
This report illustrates the typical weather in Fairbanks, based on a statistical analysis of historical hourly weather reports and model reconstructions from January 1, 1980 to December 31, 2016.
Temperature and Dew Point
There are 2 weather stations near enough to contribute to our estimation of the temperature and dew point in Fairbanks.
For each station, the records are corrected for the elevation difference between that station and Fairbanks according to the International Standard Atmosphere , and by the relative change present in the MERRA-2 satellite-era reanalysis between the two locations.
The estimated value at Fairbanks is computed as the weighted average of the individual contributions from each station, with weights proportional to the inverse of the distance between Fairbanks and a given station.
All data relating to the Sun's position (e.g., sunrise and sunset) are computed using astronomical formulas from the book, Astronomical Tables of the Sun, Moon and Planets , by Jean Meeus.
All other weather data, including cloud cover, precipitation, wind speed and direction, and solar flux, come from NASA's MERRA-2 Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis . This reanalysis combines a variety of wide-area measurements in a state-of-the-art global meteorological model to reconstruct the hourly history of weather throughout the world on a 50-kilometer grid.
Land Use data comes from the Global Land Cover SHARE database , published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Elevation data comes from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) , published by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Names, locations, and time zones of places and some airports come from the GeoNames Geographical Database .
Time zones for aiports and weather stations are provided by AskGeo.com .
Maps are © Esri, with data from National Geographic, Esri, DeLorme, NAVTEQ, UNEP-WCMC, USGS, NASA, ESA, METI, NRCAN, GEBCO, NOAA, and iPC.