No longer Arctic: climate emergency causes record high temperature in world’s northernmost settlement

Agence France-Presse

Temperatures hit 21 degrees Celsius in Alert, Canada on Sunday - its average daily temperature in July is only 3 degrees

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The average daily maximum temperature in Alert in July is 6.1 degrees Celsius.

Temperatures hit a record 21 degrees Celsius in Alert, Canada, the northernmost permanently inhabited spot on the planet less, than 1,000 kilometres from the North Pole, the Canadian meteorology service said on Tuesday.

“It’s quite phenomenal as a statistic, it’s just one example among hundreds and hundreds of other records established by global warming,” Armel Castellan, a meteorologist at the Canadian environment ministry said.

The temperaturewas recorded on Sunday at Alert, a permanent military base on the 82nd parallel which intercepts Russian communications, and which has been home to a weather station since 1950.

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Alert’s record was marked at 21 degrees on Sunday and 20 degrees the following day.

The previous record of 20 degrees was set on July 8, 1956, but since 2012 there have been several days where the temperature has risen to 19 or 20 degrees at the base on the shore of the Arctic Ocean.

The average daily temperature in Alert in July is 3 degrees Celsius.
Photo: AFP

The average daily temperature in Alert in July is 3.3 degrees, with average maximum temperatures of 6.1 degrees.

“It is not exaggerated to call it an Arctic heat wave,” said David Phillips, a senior climatologist at Environment and Climate Change Canada, a government office.

All these temperatures “are records for each of those days,” said Phillips.

“The north, from Yukon right to the Arctic islands was the second or third warmest spring on record,” he said. 

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Furthermore, Canadian government forecast models “are showing that that is going to continue through July and then into August, and early September,” he said.

The current heatwave is due to a high pressure front over Greenland, which is “quite exceptional” and feeds southerly winds on the Arctic Ocean, said Castellan.

The Arctic is heating up three times faster than other parts of  the planet, said Castellan, stressing the need for a drastic reduction in carbon emissions.