Nunavut’s warmer-than-normal October temperatures expected to last into November
Grise Fiord saw highs of 3.4 C, when the average temperature would be about -15 C
Some Nunavut communities experienced unusually warm temperatures in October, according to Environment Canada.
And higher-than-average temperatures are likely to continue into November, climate scientists say.
In Grise Fiord, Canada’s most northerly community, several mid-October temperatures were more than 18 C higher than the historical average for that date.
On Oct. 18 and Oct. 19, the high temperature there reached 3.4 C, where the average temperature over the past five years for that date would be about -15 C.
Then, on Oct. 20, Grise Fiord came in as the hot spot in all three territories, with a high of 2.2 C, compared to an average of -15 C.
When weather-watcher Patrick Duplessis from Dalhousie University looked at the past month’s temperatures across the North, he found higher than average monthly temperatures since 1981 in the following Nunavut communities during October:
- Resolute Bay, by 3.7 C
- Cambridge Bay, by 3.8 C
- Alert, by 2.3 C
- Rankin Inlet, by 0.9 C
- Clyde River, by 2.2 C
- Iqaluit, by 1 C
Climate scientists expect temperatures in large parts of the Arctic to remain warmer than normal into November. That’s because areas of open water continue to release huge amounts of heat into the atmosphere.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in collaboration with the World Meteorological Organization, is also predicting wetter than normal conditions across the majority of the Arctic region this winter.
Meanwhile, 2020 averaged the lowest Arctic sea extent in the satellite-era for the month of October.
*New Record* — 2020 averaged the lowest #Arctic sea extent in the satellite-era for the month of October.
— Zack Labe (@ZLabe) November 1, 2020
Residents of Gjoa Haven and Cambridge Bay said in mid-October that the sea ice outside their communities was just beginning to form.
Mark Serreze, the director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado, says a process called “Atlantification” is now affecting the formation of Arctic sea ice.
“The ice is now getting hit both from the top by a warming atmosphere and at the bottom by a warming ocean. It’s a real double whammy,” he said in the Conversation.