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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Man clings to roof of car driving along busy road in Maple Ridge

The man was also seen jumping on the vehicle

Intergenerational Garden in Maple Ridge set to close if funding not found

The teaching garden brought together seniors and children

Winter Family Fun Fair a joy for all

Maple Ridge Public library hosted literacy event featured 27 exhibitors

Untrending: Who wants to be perceived as ruthless, pushy, or striving?

A closer look at how to set and achieve goals.

Famous skateboard residence goes up for sale in Maple Ridge

Kyle Dion’s house on Stoney Avenue has a backyard feature few others can boast

Officials reaching out to those in contact with Canada’s first coronavirus patient

The illness has sickened at least 1,975 people and killed 56 in China

Canada’s basketball community mourns Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash

Bryant was an 18-time NBA all-star who won five championships

‘Devastated’: Fans, celebrities remember Kobe Bryant after his death

Bryant played all of his 20-year career with the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Canadian Lunar New Year celebrations dampened by coronavirus worries

But Health Minister Patty Hajdu said today that the risk of infection is low

B.C. VIEWS: New coronavirus outbreak an important reminder

Walking the line between cautious and alarmist

Kobe Bryant, daughter killed in California helicopter crash

Bryant entered the NBA draft straight out of high school in 1996

Risk of coronavirus low in B.C. as first case emerges in Toronto: officials

There have been no confirmed cases of the virus in B.C.

Most Read