Ranger scout Samson Ejanqiaq looks for an easier route through rough sea ice that bedevilled a patrol of Canadian Rangers on their way from CFS Alert to the Eureka Weather Station March 28. Weather watchers are focused on world’s most northerly community, which has been experiencing some record-breaking heat. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Bob Weber

Mercury tops out on top of the world: Alert in Nunavut warmer than Victoria

It’s the latest anomaly in what’s been a long, hot summer across the Arctic

Weather watchers are focused on the world’s most northerly community which has been in the middle of a record-breaking heat wave.

“It’s really quite spectacular,” said David Phillips, Environment Canada’s chief climatologist. “This is unprecedented.”

The weather agency confirmed that Canadian Forces Station Alert hit a record of 21 C on Sunday. On Monday, the military listening post on the top of Ellesmere Island had reached 20 C by noon and inched slightly higher later in the day.

Alert was warmer both days than Victoria, B.C., a Canadian go-to for balmy climes.

The average July high for Alert is 7 C. Phillips said that means the heat wave at the top of the world is the equivalent of Toronto registering a daytime high of 42 C.

“It’s nothing that you would have ever seen.”

A military spokesman said nobody at the high-security station, which monitors electronic signals and communications, was available to say if soldiers had swapped parkas for flip-flops.

Phillips said it’s the latest anomaly in what’s been a long, hot summer across the Arctic.

Iqaluit, Nunavut, saw the mercury rise to 23.5 C on July 9 — the highest ever for that day. Alaska had its second-warmest June on record.

Records have been falling — not by fractions, but by large margins.

“That’s what we’re seeing more often,” Phillips said.

“It’s not just half a degree or a 10th of a millimetre. It’s like hitting a ball out of the ballpark. It is so different than what the previous record was.”

More is to come, he predicted.

“Our models for the rest of the summer are saying, ‘Get used to it.’”

In Alert’s case, the source of the Arctic beach weather is a large current of air that somehow found its way north from the U.S. southeast, Phillips said.

It could be related to changes in the jet stream, a fast-moving high-altitude river of air that moves west to east. That current has slowed in recent years and has become more unstable, sometimes looping much farther north or south than normal.

Many scientists believe the changes are at least partly the result of melting sea ice.

“It’s almost as if you’re seeing these extremes more often because of the jet stream that has a different look and a different pattern,” Phillips said. ”That’s what we saw when we had those 20-degree temperatures in Iqaluit.”

It’s part of a pattern, he said. He’s cautious about attributing specific events to any one cause, but not about naming one of the main drivers.

“With temperatures you’ve never seen before, you can’t dismiss it as not having a climate change component.”

ALSO READ: Canadian communities responding to climate change

ALSO READ: Advocates want charges in horse deaths during Calgary Stampede chuckwagon races

Bob Weber, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Second cannabis store in the works for Revelstoke

City Council approved a development variance permit for Revelsmoke Aug. 13

No public comments on Mackenzie Village development agreement amendments

Revelstoke City Council held a public hearing and heard one written comment and none in-person

Author of Emily Carr books coming to speak in Revelstoke

Laurie Carter will be at the Revelstoke library on Sept. 26

Photos: Railway Days at Revelstoke Railway Museum 2019

Today was Railway Days at the Revelstoke Railway Museum. There was food,… Continue reading

Festival goers at the 27th annual Roots and Blues Festival

The Observer asked: Where are you from and what brought you to the festival?

QUIZ: How much do you remember about Woodstock?

Weekend music festival in Bethel, New York, was held 50 years ago

U16 B.C. fastpitch team named national champs

Girls went undefeated at national tournament in Calgary

Summerland’s downtown has gone through numerous changes

Main Street has been commercial hub of community for many years

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

Okanagan climate advocacy group protests against Tolko

Group to demonstrate outside Vernon head office Monday over plan to log close to water supply

Okanagan Cultural Connections live venue tour kicks off in Vernon

Two dozen promoters, national booking agents, and music reps to visit venues from Vernon to Oliver

Most Read