The sun will rise at 8:23 this morning – note that it’s back to future tense, thanks to daylight savings. On the other hand, with an 11 hour 18 minute day, it won’t set until 7:40 this afternoon, with solar noon at 2:01 pm. Alaska’s certainly not on sun time, and it’s even worse at Nome, where the sun sometimes doesn’t rise until afternoon.

The temperatures have been balmy to the point of being ridiculous . The highs were above freezing from Thursday through Saturday, which caused problems for the World Ice Art Championships. The single block competition was over, but the multiple block carvers were supposed to finish at 9 pm Friday. They use water to glue the pieces together, and at 42° Friday that just wasn’t possible. So Friday most of the sculptures were wrapped in Tyvek to keep the sun from melting them, and the sculptors were allowed to keep working until 11 pm.

The roads are great where the sun has melted the ice and then evaporated the water, but there is still a lot of gray ice present. When the sun shines on that, with temperatures this warm, it gets very slippery. Remember the ground is thoroughly cold-soaked, so it takes quite a lot of heating to get rid of the ice cover. I hope it stays below freezing for a while now, but I’m not hoping for extreme cold, such as sometimes follows unusual warmth.  We can reach 40 below until the end of March.

I’ll put a couple of pairs of photos side by side below. Click to get larger images. The first is Friday and Saturday views of “Winter Breeze,” an abstract  by Stan Kolenko, Chris Uyehara, Jerry Perun and Wei Sen Liang,  all of the USA. Guess I did a good job choosing; this one took first place in the abstract category.

Ice Sculpture, abstractIce Sculpture, abstract………………….

The second is Friday and Saturday views of “Extreme Ice,” a realistic sculpture by Qi Feng An, (China) Di An, (China) Julio Martinez (Mexico) and Aubrey Newton (USA.) This one took 4th place realistic and the Governer’s Award. I’ll post photos of the winners Thursday.

Ice SculptureIce Sculpture