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Barrow now Utqiagvik is the largest city of the North Slope Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska.[2][3] It is one of the northernmost cities in the world, and is the northernmost city in the United States, with nearby Point Barrow being the nation's northernmost point. The population was 4,683 at the 2000 census, with an estimated population of 3,982 in 2007.[1] It was named after Sir John Barrow.

The city derived its name from Point Barrow, which was named by Frederick William Beechey in 1825 for Sir John Barrow of the British Admiralty. The location has been home to Native Inupiat Eskimo people for over 1,000 years under the name Ukpeagvik or "place where snowy owls are hunted".[4]

Owing to its location 320(515 km) north of the Arctic Circle, Barrow's climate is cold and dry and is classified as a polar climate. Winter weather can be extremely dangerous because of the combination of cold and wind, while summers are cool even at their warmest. Weather observations are available for Barrow dating back into the late 19th century.[6] Currently there is a National Weather Service (NWS) Office and a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Monitoring Lab in Barrow.

Despite the extreme northern location, temperatures at Barrow are moderated by the surrounding topography. With the Arctic Ocean on three sides, and flat tundra stretching some 200(300 km) to the south there are no wind barriers and there are no protected valleys where dense cold air can settle or form temperature inversions in the lower atmosphere in the way that commonly happens in the Interior between the Brooks Range and the Alaska Range.[7]

Barrow experiences the lowest average temperatures in Alaska. While recording the lowest temperatures statewide during cold waves is rare, extremely low wind chill and "white out" conditions from blowing snow are very common.

Temperatures remain below freezing from early October through late May. The high daily temperature is above freezing on an average of only 109 days per year. There are freezing temperatures on an average of 324 days per year.[8][9] Freezing temperatures, and snowfall, can occur during any month of the year.[7]

Barrow is a desert, with an average of less than 5(127 mm) "equivalent rainfall" per year, which includes less than 30in (76 cm) of snow.[8][10] (Since one inch of rain is approximately equal to twelve inches (305mm) of snow).

The first snow (defined as snow that will not melt until next spring) generally falls during the first week of October, when temperatures cease to rise above freezing during the day. October is usually the month with the heaviest snowfall, with at least a trace of snow virtually every day and an average total accumulation of about 7(18 cm).[10] Snow can also fall in the summer.

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