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Hardiness Zone Area Data for Alaska (AK)

Alaska (AK) USDA Zone Map
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State Information Data for Alaska (AK)

Anchorage, Alaska, US
Alaska is a U.S. state in the northwest extremity of North America. The Canadian administrative divisions of British Columbia and Yukon border the state to the east, its most extreme western part is Attu Island, and it has a maritime border with Russia (Chukotka Autonomous Okrug) to the west across the Bering Strait. To the north are the Chukchi and Beaufort seas, the southern parts of the Arctic Ocean. The Pacific Ocean lies to the south and southwest. It is the largest state in the United States by area and the seventh largest sub-national division in the world. In addition, it is the 3rd least populous and the most sparsely populated of the 50 United States; nevertheless, it is by far the most populous territory located mostly north of the 60th parallel in North America: its population - estimated at 738,432 by the United States Census Bureau in 2015 - is more than quadruple the combined populations of Northern Canada and Greenland. Approximately half of Alaska's residents live within the Anchorage metropolitan area. Alaska's economy is dominated by the fishing, natural gas, and oil industries, resources which it has in abundance. Military bases and tourism are also a significant part of the economy.

The United States purchased Alaska from the Russian Empire on March 30, 1867, for 7.2 million U.S. dollars at approximately two cents per acre ($4.74/km2). The area went through several administrative changes before becoming organized as a territory on May 11, 1912. It was admitted as the 49th state of the U.S. on January 3, 1959.
Statehood January 3rd, 1959
Capital Juneau
Official Flag Alaska (AK) Flag
Approximate Size Total: 663,268 sq mi (1,717,854 km2)
Width: 2,261 miles (3,639 km)
Length: 1,420 miles (2,285 km)
% Water: 13.77
Highest Point Mt. McKinley (20,237ft or 6,168m)
Counties 27
Population 731,449 (2012)
Electoral Votes 3
State Quarter Issued August 25th, 2008
Official Motto North to the future
Official Flower Forget Me Not
Official Bird Willow Ptarmigan
Nickname The Last Frontier
Area Code(s) 907
Sports There are no major league professional sports teams in Alaska, but there is a minor league hockey team in Anchorage. In addition, college hockey teams, such as University of Alaska-Fairbanks, are involved at the NCAA Division I level. Sports in Alaska generally revolve around the outdoors, including skiing, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, and camping. Perhaps the biggest sporting event in the state is the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, covering 1,159 mi (1,865 km) from Anchorage to Nome. The race is held in March, and both men and women compete. With a $50,000 purse, it is the most lucrative sled dog race in the world.

Other annual sporting events include the Great Alaska Shootout, in which college basketball teams from around the country compete in Anchorage in November, and the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics in Fairbanks in July.
Area Facts What are some natural features in Alaska?
With its myriad islands, Alaska has nearly 34,000 miles (55,000 km) of tidal shoreline. The Aleutian Islands chain extends west from the southern tip of the Alaska Peninsula. Many active volcanoes are found in the Aleutians and in coastal regions. Unimak Island, for example, is home to Mount Shishaldin, which is an occasionally smoldering volcano that rises to 10,000 feet (3,000 m) above the North Pacific. It is the most perfect volcanic cone on Earth, even more symmetrical than Japan's Mount Fuji. The chain of volcanoes extends to Mount Spurr, west of Anchorage on the mainland. Geologists have identified Alaska as part of Wrangellia, a large region consisting of multiple states and Canadian provinces in the Pacific Northwest, which is actively undergoing continent building.

One of the world's largest tides occurs in Turnagain Arm, just south of Anchorage, where tidal differences can be more than 35 feet (10.7 m).

Alaska has more than three million lakes. Marshlands and wetland permafrost cover 188,320 square miles (487,700 km2) (mostly in northern, western and southwest flatlands). Glacier ice covers about 28,957 square miles (75,000 km2) of Alaska. The Bering Glacier is the largest glacier in North America, covering 2,008 square miles (5,200 km2) alone.


What is the climate like in Alaska?
The climate in Southeast Alaska is a mid-latitude oceanic climate in the southern sections and a subarctic oceanic climate in the northern parts. On an annual basis, Southeast is both the wettest and warmest part of Alaska with milder temperatures in the winter and high precipitation throughout the year. Juneau averages over 50 in (130 cm) of precipitation a year, and Ketchikan averages over 150 in (380 cm). This is also the only region in Alaska in which the average daytime high temperature is above freezing during the winter months.

The climate of Anchorage and south central Alaska is mild by Alaskan standards due to the region's proximity to the seacoast. While the area gets less rain than southeast Alaska, it gets more snow, and days tend to be clearer. On average, Anchorage receives 16 in (41 cm) of precipitation a year, with around 75 in (190 cm) of snow, although there are areas in the south central which receive far more snow. It is a subarctic climate (Köppen: Dfc) due to its brief, cool summers.

The climate of Western Alaska is determined in large part by the Bering Sea and the Gulf of Alaska. It is a subarctic oceanic climate in the southwest and a continental subarctic climate farther north. The temperature is somewhat moderate considering how far north the area is. This region has a tremendous amount of variety in precipitation. An area stretching from the northern side of the Seward Peninsula to the Kobuk River valley (i. e., the region around Kotzebue Sound) is technically a desert, with portions receiving less than 10 in (25 cm) of precipitation annually. On the other extreme, some locations between Dillingham and Bethel average around 100 in (250 cm) of precipitation.

The climate of the interior of Alaska is subarctic. Some of the highest and lowest temperatures in Alaska occur around the area near Fairbanks. The summers may have temperatures reaching into the 90s °F (the low-to-mid 30s °C), while in the winter, the temperature can fall below -60 °F (-51 °C). Precipitation is sparse in the Interior, often less than 10 in (25 cm) a year, but what precipitation falls in the winter tends to stay the entire winter.

The highest and lowest recorded temperatures in Alaska are both in the Interior. The highest is 100 °F (38 °C) in Fort Yukon (which is just 8 mi or 13 km inside the arctic circle) on June 27, 1915, making Alaska tied with Hawaii as the state with the lowest high temperature in the United States. The lowest official Alaska temperature is -80 °F (-62 °C) in Prospect Creek on January 23, 1971, one degree above the lowest temperature recorded in continental North America (in Snag, Yukon, Canada).

The climate in the extreme north of Alaska is Arctic (Köppen: ET) with long, very cold winters and short, cool summers. Even in July, the average low temperature in Utqiagvik is 34 °F (1 °C). Precipitation is light in this part of Alaska, with many places averaging less than 10 in (25 cm) per year, mostly as snow which stays on the ground almost the entire year.


What is agriculture like in Alaska?
Due to the northern climate and short growing season, relatively little farming occurs in Alaska. Most farms are in either the Matanuska Valley, about 40 miles (64 km) northeast of Anchorage, or on the Kenai Peninsula, about 60 miles (97 km) southwest of Anchorage. The short 100-day growing season limits the crops that can be grown, but the long sunny summer days make for productive growing seasons. The primary crops are potatoes, carrots, lettuce, and cabbage.

The Tanana Valley is another notable agricultural locus, especially the Delta Junction area, about 100 miles (160 km) southeast of Fairbanks, with a sizable concentration of farms growing agronomic crops; these farms mostly lie north and east of Fort Greely. This area was largely set aside and developed under a state program spearheaded by Hammond during his second term as governor. Delta-area crops consist predominantly of barley and hay. West of Fairbanks lies another concentration of small farms catering to restaurants, the hotel and tourist industry, and community-supported agriculture.

Alaskan agriculture has experienced a surge in growth of market gardeners, small farms and farmers' markets in recent years, with the highest percentage increase (46%) in the nation in growth in farmers' markets in 2011, compared to 17% nationwide. The peony industry has also taken off, as the growing season allows farmers to harvest during a gap in supply elsewhere in the world, thereby filling a niche in the flower market.

Alaska, with no counties, lacks county fairs. However, a small assortment of state and local fairs (with the Alaska State Fair in Palmer the largest), are held mostly in the late summer. The fairs are mostly located in communities with historic or current agricultural activity, and feature local farmers exhibiting produce in addition to more high-profile commercial activities such as carnival rides, concerts and food. "Alaska Grown" is used as an agricultural slogan.

Alaska has an abundance of seafood, with the primary fisheries in the Bering Sea and the North Pacific. Seafood is one of the few food items that is often cheaper within the state than outside it. Many Alaskans take advantage of salmon seasons to harvest portions of their household diet while fishing for subsistence, as well as sport. This includes fish taken by hook, net or wheel.

Hunting for subsistence, primarily caribou, moose, and Dall sheep is still common in the state, particularly in remote Bush communities. An example of a traditional native food is Akutaq, the Eskimo ice cream, which can consist of reindeer fat, seal oil, dried fish meat and local berries.

Alaska's reindeer herding is concentrated on Seward Peninsula, where wild caribou can be prevented from mingling and migrating with the domesticated reindeer.

Most food in Alaska is transported into the state from "Outside", and shipping costs make food in the cities relatively expensive. In rural areas, subsistence hunting and gathering is an essential activity because imported food is prohibitively expensive. Although most small towns and villages in Alaska lie along the coastline, the cost of importing food to remote villages can be high, because of the terrain and difficult road conditions, which change dramatically, due to varying climate and precipitation changes. The cost of transport can reach as high as 50¢ per pound ($1.10/kg) or more in some remote areas, during the most difficult times, if these locations can be reached at all during such inclement weather and terrain conditions. The cost of delivering a 1 US gallon (3.8 L) of milk is about $3.50 in many villages where per capita income can be $20,000 or less. Fuel cost per gallon is routinely 20-30¢ higher than the continental United States average, with only Hawaii having higher prices.
Posted on May 8th, 2014 · Updated on January 8th, 2019
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