Nunavut keeps its cool as world swelters

Scientists observe shift in Arctic Ocean’s effect on weather


The summer of 2005 is looking like the world’s hottest in history.

That’s what Wayne Davidson, an Environment Canada weather station operator in Resolute Bay and keen follower of the sun, also predicted several months ago, and his prediction was right on target.

“It is easy to state that 2005 probably (will) surpass 1998’s all-time average temperature high,” Davidson said on his web site at back in April.

Davidson’s conclusion was based on his visual study of the sun and how its appearance on the horizon changes, depending on the temperature of the air. This year, the size of the sun, which appeared “shockingly, persistently” rounder than usual, is what told him the summer would be warm.

“The prediction came through, quite accurately,” Davidson said in an interview.

But he’s finding the cool and cloudy weather that has affected parts of Nunavut is “not unexpected.”

For Davidson, the steamy weather that Nunavik, but not the nearby Baffin region, experienced in July is “a very good point of interest.”

Davidson reasons Nunavut is cooler because its weather is still affected by the clouds generated over the cool Arctic Ocean.

The Arctic Ocean is, he said, a giant player in weather-making and one that is generally ignored.

The Arctic Ocean used to be predictable, Davidson explains, but now isn’t because the water is becoming warmer. This means the chemical reactions which used to feed cloud formation early in the spring now occur throughout the winter months, rather than in “a sudden massive ejection at about spring tide, as it was for time immemorial.”

Satellite photos of the Arctic Ocean that he’s scanned appear to show fewer clouds.

“The Arctic Ocean always generates clouds in the summer because of its ice cover, and this year is no exception, but it had less clouds this past spring,” Davidson said.

Now there are more clouds “which makes Nunavut naturally cooler,” Davidson said.

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