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

BCHL: Bulldogs new coach Joe Martin looking for hard skill, winning attitude

Alberni Valley team heads into new era with new owners, coaches, expectations

China Creek bullhead derby a hit

Derby was organized by the Port Alberni Port Authority

Go Bearfoot in the Park and help kids too in Port Alberni

Fundraising event will take place at Blair Park on Aug. 24

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Two B.C. suspects of a Canada-wide manhunt reportedly recorded a cellphone video… Continue reading

Sproat Lake residents oppose large-scale cannabis production in their neighbourhood

Community group calls public meeting for Aug. 21 to discuss implications to ACRD land

UPDATE: Wildfire east of Port Alberni under control

Crews continue to mop up 3.1-hectare fire

Vancouver Island RCMP hunt for man after pair of indecent exposure incidents

Elderly Qualicum Beach woman grabbed by man who had been masturbating in the woods

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Pile of wood mulch ‘spontaneously combusts’ at Vancouver Island industrial site

Business owner thanks fire department for quick response

Five hedgehogs quickly adopted after being left at BC SPCA

Lucky new owners picked up their pets from Maple Ridge branch on Aug. 20

B.C. cricket players get interrupted by racist remark

Community has had protocols in place for years to respond to prejudice

Groovy B.C. wedding a throwback to Woodstock ‘69

Couple hosts themed wedding 50 years after legendary festival

Nearly 50% of Canadians experience ‘post-vacation blues’: poll

48 per cent of travellers are already stressed about ‘normal life’ while still on their trip

Most Read