The most northern permanently inhabited region on Earth shattered a temperature record just weeks into the summer season.
Alert, Nunavut reached 18.8°C on June 28, which beats out its previous record of 18.2°C for the month of June that was set in 2000. Several cities over 4,000 km southwest from Alert saw considerably cooler temperatures, such as Calgary, which only reached 14.5°C on the same day.
Alert’s new temperature record isn’t far from the warmest temperature that was ever recorded in Canada’s northernmost city, which was 20°C on August 8, 1956.
An upper level ridge and clear skies created the perfect conditions for temperatures to soar on June 28, however, anything approaching 20°C is particularly alarming since temperatures are normally around 5°C during this time of year.
The frequency of higher temperatures is also a cause for concern because many regions in the Arctic Circle have recently seen abnormally hot conditions.
Just over one week before Alert set their record, Verkhoyansk, an Arctic Siberian town, reached a staggering 38°C on June 20.
While exceeding 30°C isn’t unusual during the summer months, Verkhoyansk’s record-breaking temperature could be the warmest it has ever been in the Arctic Circle. The Arctic Circle’s previous temperature record was set over 100 years ago in June 1915 when the town of Fort Yukon, Alaska reached 37.8°C.
Different air masses contributed to these abnormally warm temperatures in the Arctic, but even though they were not influenced by the same weather events, they are connected to the larger influence of climate change and rising global temperatures.