People walk to a cruise ship as it rains downtown in October, 2022. Juneau’s annual precipitation totaled 88.31 inches, breaking the previous annual rainfall record of 85.15 inches set in 1991 by more than 3 inches. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire File)

People walk to a cruise ship as it rains downtown in October, 2022. Juneau’s annual precipitation totaled 88.31 inches, breaking the previous annual rainfall record of 85.15 inches set in 1991 by more than 3 inches. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire File)

Juneau tops annual rainfall record by more than 3 inches

It was the most rain recorded in Juneau since 1936

How wet did Juneau get this year? Very.

According to the National Weather Service Juneau, on Dec. 31 Juneau’s annual precipitation totaled 88.31 inches — over 3 inches more than the previous annual rainfall record of 85.15 inches set in 1991, as measured at the Juneau International Airport.

Rick Fritsch, the lead meteorologist at the National Weather Service Juneau, said though 2022 was a record-breaking year, it doesn’t necessarily mean residents should expect the new year to be the same.

“Although 2022 was a record-wet year, you cannot contribute one record-wet year to climate change,” he said. “But, based on the past 20 years, the wettest years recorded have been dominated by the years since the turn of the century — so there might be a signal here or a trend that could be evidence of the influences of climate change.”

According to data from NWS Juneau, six out of the 10 top rainfall records have been since the 2000.

“We’re trending wetter as the years go on,” Fritsch said.

Looking toward 2023, Fritsch said there are “way too many variables to say” to predict precipitation, but did note that due to the current La Nina period — a climate pattern deriving from cooler-than-normal temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean which in turn can impact other parts of the globe — the probability of Juneau experiencing cooler than normal temperatures for the remainder of this winter is high, though doesn’t necessarily mean higher precipitation.

However, because the tropical Pacific has been in a La Nina state since September 2020, he said it is unlikely that there will be another, which means that come fall and winter, it will likely revert to warmer temperatures here in Juneau.

• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at clarise.larson@juneauempire.com or (651)-528-1807. Follow her on Twitter at @clariselarson.

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