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.

Just Posted

Cannabis cultivation: Former North Saanich chicken farm goes into pot

North Saanich would join a small, growing number of communities with marijuana growing

PHOTOS: West Shore students rally for 10,000 Tonight food drive

Students, community members gather, sort food donations

Beaches near Sidney’s Tsehum Harbour to receive first clean up in years

Peninsula Streams Society hopes to attract 50 volunteers for the Saturday event

Saanich allows retail sale of recreational cannabis for specific zones

Amendments to the 2003 bylaw allows retail sale of recreational cannabis in Saanich

UPDATED: Royal Jubilee gets 15 more patient beds for Greater Victoria end-of-life care

New patient beds in hospice and acute palliative care to be in place by spring 2020

VIDEO: Octopus, bald eagle battle after bird ‘bites off more than it can chew’ in B.C. waters

B.C. crew films fight between the two feisty animals in Quatsino off north Vancouver Island

Raptors fans show Kawhi the love in his return to Toronto

Leonard receives championship ring, leads new club to win

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Dec. 10

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you have a real or artificial Christmas tree?

The lights are up, holiday shoppers are bustling through the streets and… Continue reading

Process to identify those killed in Gabriola plane crash could take days

Canadian flight museum suggests Alex Bahlsen of Mill Bay died in Tuesday’s crash

One man dead after car crash in Nanaimo

One person died, another was injured in the accident which happened Wednesday on Nanaimo Lakes Road

‘Honest mistake:’ RCMP says B.C. cannabis shop can keep image of infamous Mountie

Sam Steele wearing military, not RCMP uniform in image depicted in Jimmy’s Cannabis window

B.C. conservation officers put down fawn blinded by pellet gun on Vancouver Island

Young deer found near construction site in Hammond Bay area in Nanaimo, B.C.

Laid-off forest workers converge on B.C. legislature

Loggers call for action on strike, provincial stumpage

Most Read