Alaska experienced record high temperatures of 67 degrees Fahrenheit in Kodiak the day after Christmas with other communities seeing temperatures hit the 50s and 60s this week.

Tying a single heat wave to climate change requires extensive research and analysis, but scientists agree heat waves are becoming more common and more dangerous. NASA reported 2020 tied 2016 for the hottest year on record and seven of the last 10 years have been the warmest on record, according to GISS Director Gavin Schmidt.

“Whether one year is a record or not is not really that important. The important things are long-term trends. With these trends, and as the human impact on the climate increases, we have to expect that records will continue to be broken,” Schmidt said.

The recent heat wave in Alaska has been driven by a high-pressure system known as a heat dome, which has caused record-high temperatures over 100 degrees in the Pacific Northwest this year.

“In late December, I would not have thought this was possible,” said Rick Thoman, a climate specialist with the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy in Fairbanks.

Other parts of Alaska have experienced record amounts of precipitation as the Fairbanks area was hit with its most intense snowstorm since 1937, according to Thoman. December is normally a dry month for Alaska as the cold air doesn’t hold much moisture.

Whatever moisture does flow tends to be “the more fluffy powder because the air is nice and cold”, said Thoman.

Other communities in Alaska have had to deal with heavy rain coating them with ice, causing power outages and roads to close causing them to remain slippery and dangerous for an extended period of time.

Fairbanks saw 1.93 inches of precipitation on the wettest December day in the city on record, and the third-wettest day since 1929 on top of experiencing its wettest December this year, according to The Washington Post.