The Southwest Islands
First Order Stations

Saint Paul Island

Cold Bay

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Station histories
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The Southwestern Islands includes the tip of the Alaska peninsula (Cold Bay), the islands in the Bering Sea (St. Paul) and the Aleutian chain (Adak, Shemya, and Attu), stretching across the 180th meridian toward Siberia. All of the stations are coastal, located near sea level. This is the most maritime region of the state, and the most dependant on military and Coast Guard stations for formal weather reports, especially in the Aleutians themselves. It is also the only region of Alaska on a more westerly time zone than the mainland: Aleutian time is based on the 150th Meridian.

This area is home of the Aleutian Low, the heart of the North Pacific extratropical storm belt. The local economy is based almost entirely on fishing, and weather information here is critical locally as well as globally.
Although mean annual temperatures are above freezing (except for the eastern Bering Sea, where sea ice forms annually over the shallow continental shelf of Beringia) summers are too cold and windy for strong forest growth. The ecology is basically Arctic, with grassy tundra dominating. How much of the treelessness is imposed by the climate and how much is due to the fact that trees were unable to reach the islands when temperatures rose after the last ice age is controversial. Transplanted trees in some of the eastern Aleutians appeared to be growing well until recently. The island terrain is rugged, dominated by young and often active volcanoes.
Need data for any of these stations? Contact the center by email or phone, or go to the Alaska Climate Data page.

Observing Stations - Period of record given in parenthesis, which denotes start and end year of operation. Data may not be complete throughout the period, however, and may include significant data gaps. Boldface type indicates stations currently operating.
ADAK NAVAL AIR STATION (1942 - 96) DUTCH HARBOR (1947 - present)
AKUTAN (1986 - 90) DUTCH HARBOR A (1915 - 52)
AMCHITKA (1943 - 93) SAND POINT (1941 - 94)
ATTU (1917 - 93) SHEMYA AFB (1943 - 95)
CAPE SARICHEF (1952 - 80) ST GEORGE ISLAND (1954 - 60)
COLD BAY THORNB AFB (1942 - 54) UNALASKA (1948 - 50)