Arctic warm spell continues from September into October

Several high temperature records have been broken from the High Arctic to Nunavik

This recent four-week forecast by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts shows a warm signal across the whole planet, with increases of 1 C to 6 C forecast for the Canadian Arctic, with the exception of parts of Nunavut’s Kivalliq region. (Map courtesy of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts/Twitter)

By Jane George

Recent climate maps show a large amount of heat blanketing the entire polar region, with temperatures ranging from 1 C to 6 C above the norm predicted for the next month.

So perhaps it’s not a surprise that several high temperature records recently tumbled at the Canadian Forces Station at Alert, on Nunavut’s Ellesmere Island, located some 2,000 kilometres north of Iqaluit.

Weather records have been kept since 1950 at Alert, which lies at a  latitude of 82.3 degrees north.

The record-breaking temperatures supplied by Dalhousie University weather watcher Patrick Duplessis show the following new highs in Alert:

  • 6 C on Sept. 29, up from the previous high of 0 C in 1992 and 1998.
  • 4 C on Sept 30, up from the previous high of -0.5 C in 1998.
  • 4.9 C on Oct. 1, up from the previous high of -1.9 C in 2015.
  • -0.8 C on Oct. 10, up from the previous high of -2.2 C in 1955, 1960 and 1973.
  • 0.1 C on Oct. 11, up from the previous high of -2.2 C in 1974.

Alert wasn’t the only place in Nunavut where many residents have noted unusually warm conditions.

Johnny Ugjuk of Rankin Inlet said on Twitter that “I sometimes don’t feel like it’s October, because I just seen a siksik (Arctic ground squirrel) in town, still feeling like September to me.”

And Gordy Kidlapik of Arviat posted two photos on Twitter to show the big difference in temperature between this year and last.

Nunavik also had some warm days. On Saturday, Oct. 12, Kuujjuaraapik was the “hot spot” in Canada, with a temperature of 20.6 C, breaking the previous high temperature record for that date of 19.9 C in 2003.

That same day was also a record-breaker in Kuujjuaq, with a high of 19.2 C, breaking the long-standing previous high temperature of 13.8 C from 1978.

Saturday also marked the second-warmest October day ever on record for Kuujjuaq, after 20 C on Oct. 5, 2014, Duplessis noted.

These warm waves come after a warmer-than-average month of September across the Canadian Arctic.

A look at the temperature anomalies in September on a map prepared by Duplessis show variations of up to 3.2 degrees above normal in Inuvik and 2 degrees above normal in Clyde River.

This map prepared by Dalhousie weather watcher Patrick Duplessis shows the variation from normal temperatures in September in places across the North. (Map courtesy of Patrick Duplessis)

Clyde River also had its warmest summer on record, based on weather data going back to 1946, according to Duplessis.

Alert also broke heat records earlier, ending July with a record-breaking high of 18.3 C.

Duplessis found the average temperature was 4.3 C, while the normal average for the month is 0.9 C.

Environment Canada predicts that the warm temperatures in northern Canada are likely to continue through December.

See the deep red over northern Canada? This map from Environment and Climate Change Canada shows a 90- to 100-per-cent probability of higher-than-average temperatures through December. (Map courtesy of ECC)

The impact of global warming is being felt in the Arctic, the most recent climate report from the International Panel on Climate Change also confirmed last month.

The IPCC noted that “Arctic surface air temperature has likely increased by more than double the global average over the last two decades, with feedbacks from loss of sea ice and snow cover contributing to the amplified warming.”

Sea ice is at its lowest recorded level for this time of year, judging from the satellite record, according to tracking by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

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(5) Comments:

  1. Posted by 59009 on

    I remember something like 10 years go here in Iqaluit, we had puddles of water in December. Then it would get cold again and make everything slippery.

  2. Posted by Denier by definition on

    Where I live; a decade ago the snow would not stay until early November, but now we freeze at the beginning of October.

    • Posted by Denier by Ignorance? on

      Denier by definition – *literally looking at a map, produced by ECCC, showing this year’s Oct-Dec forecast temperature above 1981-2010 average across pretty much all of Canada.*
      Denier by definition – *literally looking at a map, produced by Dalhousie University PhD Candidate, showing this year’s September temperature anomalies above 1981-2010 average across pretty much all of Canada.*
      Denier by definition – *literally looking at a map, produced by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, showing overall significant higher than normal temperature anomalies across pretty much the entire world.*
      Denier by definition – “nah”

  3. Posted by Napatchie on

    The climate is changing because someone decided to have wireless cell phone internet use at all times, that is waves of warm connection to just say hi or to look at pictures, what a ridiculous invention, what was wrong with watching T.V, or talking on a land line telephone, I blame the constant use of wireless devices, we are cooking ourselves in a low heat burning!

    • Posted by Mike Carrick on

      That may be the most ignorant comment I have ever seen.
      You cannot cite a single scientific paper in support of this balderdash

      Or you would have done so.

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