October was Nunavut’s warmest on record, and climate change is to blame: meteorologist

Most of territory hovered 5 C above normal on average last month

A lack of sea ice in the eastern Arctic has contributed to warmer temperatures this October, says Environment and Climate Change Canada meteorologist Armel Castellan (Photo credit Melinda Webster)

By Nunatsiaq News

With less ice and snow, the weather has felt unusually mild in Nunavut this autumn, and now there are numbers to back it up. Environment and Climate Change Canada says this October was the territory’s warmest on record.

The warming trend was seen across Nunavut, all the way up to its northernmost communities. In fact, Resolute saw six days stay above freezing in October this year alone. The total number of times the community has ever seen the mercury stay above zero for that month since weather data for the area has been recorded? Eight.

“Resolute is indicative of what we are seeing,” Castellan said.

Most of Nunavut was around 5 C warmer than usual last month, while the north Baffin area was 8 C warmer than usual.

Hundreds of individual daily temperature records were broken across the territory, too. The department records daily highs and daily low temperatures for every Nunavut community. The department measured record-breaking high temperatures 135 times throughout the month, and daily lows stayed warmer than ever 184 times.

Nunavik had higher temperatures last month as well, he said. For example, Puvirnituq was 5 C warmer on average than usual for the month of October.

There are multiple reasons for the record-breaking temperatures, Castellan said.

Wind patterns throughout Canada interacted in a way that brought warmer winds up from the south, he said.

But what exacerbated the warm winds was a lack of sea ice for this time of year, Castellan said. Sea-ice coverage has been below average in the Canadian Arctic for the entire year.

Usually, sea ice cools warm southerly winds, preventing warmer temperatures in the North. Without the usual amount of sea ice for October, those warm southerly winds stayed warm.

The thinning and disappearance of sea ice is a long-term consequence of climate change, Castellan said, and its effect on thermometers makes that effect measurable.

For example, temperatures in the Arctic are around three times warmer than pre-industrial times, while parts of the globe near the equator are now 1.5 degrees warmer than pre-industrial times.

“It’s virtually impossible to have this type of climate without [a changed environment],” he said.

Castellan said the unusual temperatures aren’t going away soon — people across the North can expect a warmer than usual start to winter too.

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(8) Comments:

  1. Posted by articrick on

    Time for some seal skin thongs and speedos.

    • Posted by JOHNNY on

      Can t wait for palm trees and sand in the future in the middle of winter

  2. Posted by S on

    Whew, I’m glad I read the article; up to now I thought planet Earth was static. I read NN and lo, it’s revealed that Earth is dymamic. Whodda thunk. Maybe all those rumors I heard about the Solar System, changing orbits, earthquakes, volcanoes and ice ages were true.

    Or maybe not; maybe everything is artificial, like most politicians’ and plutarchs’ motives

    • Posted by Delta K on

      You’re correct in saying that the Earth is dynamic and always changing, but what your rhetoric fails to address is that in our current situation the important variable is the time it’s taking to change. Right now we are going through a period of warming that is taking decades instead of millennia. And human activity is what is causing it.

  3. Posted by Richard MacKinnon on

    We were given the necessary information as to how to avoid climate change but decided sacrificing the culture of people of the north and coastal farmers was worth a consumer carbon economy.

    • Posted by S on

      Richard, are you really as naive as your comments indicate? Do you doubt that recently most of North America was under a sheet of ice nearly two kilometers thick and an Arctic sheet that was closer to four kilometers deep. Do you think that the land would remain barren in Wisconsin, in Quebec, in Nunavut as the ice melted and receded? Do you think life exists without energy and heat? Can you add and subtract? Are you in favor of natural science explanations for nature, or do you subscribe to political non-science, religious doctrine, and human arrogance to set your policy?

      • Posted by Tired of S and his Bull on

        In 2013, it was determined that there was a 95% chance that human activity was the cause of recent climate change. In 2019, that changed to 99.9999% chance. There are many reasons that climate changes, yes, but the ice ages you refer to happen due to decreased solar activity. The Earth is now warming at an alarming rate despite a fairly stable, but actually decreasing level of solar activity.
        You claim to be in favour of natural science explanations for nature, but that seems to mean you just throw your hands up and say, “sh*t happens”, instead of actually looking at the information available.

  4. Posted by Forever Amazed on

    Isn’t change a part of life?
    Where is the resiliance to adapt to change?


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