Northern Canada’s Winter Heat Wave

Canada’s average temperature for 2010 was 3.0°C above normal — the warmest year on record (source: Environment Canada)

Although cooler in the south where every one lives, Canada’s north has been breaking records for warmth in the middle of winter in a region where there is no sun until spring! I’ve covered this a couple of weeks ago and the reasons why Arctic Hothouse Turns Europe into an Icebox

This is a more recent report from the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder by Bob Henson. — Stephen

“Just how mild has it been? The map at right shows departures from average surface temperatures for the period from 17 December 2010 to 15 January 2011, as calculated by NOAA’s Earth Systems Research Laboratory.

The blue blip along the southeast U.S. coast indicates readings between 3°C and 6°C (5.4–10.8°F) below average for the 30-day period as a whole…

What really jumps out, though, is a blob of green, yellow, orange, and red covering a major swath of northern and eastern Canada. The largest anomalies here exceed 21°C (37.8°F) above average, which are very large values to be sustained for an entire month.

To put this picture into even sharper focus, let’s take a look at Coral Harbour, located at the northwest corner of Hudson Bay in the province of Nunavut. On a typical mid-January day, the town drops to a low of –34°C (–29.2°F) and reaches a high of just -26°C (–14.8°F). Compare that to what Coral Harbour actually experienced:

  • On the 6th of the month, the low temperature was –3.7°C (25.3°F). That’s a remarkable 30°C (54°F) above average.
  • On both the 5th and 6th, Coral Harbor inched above the freezing mark. Before this year, temperatures above 0°C (32°F) had never been recorded in the entire three months of January, February, and March.

Related articles/posts:

Climate Change Could Be Worsening Effects of El Niño -La Niña

Ice-cold Atlanta (and eastern US) Is Likely Connected to Arctic Hothouse

The Yin and Yang of Climate Extremes We Will See More of

    Polar Bears’ Future Bleak in Melting Arctic

    Lots of folks have been telling me that polar bears are doing ok and don’t need protection under the US Endangered Species Act. Some say polar bear populations are stable in Alaska and increasing in parts of Canada. And there might be 1500 more bears than previous estimates according to a three year study in Nunavut which makes $2 million a year from polar bear trophy hunters. But 1500 isn’t very many more bears and with the Arctic sea ice melting fast the future certainly doesn’t look bright.

    As for Alaska consider this fact:

    This week scientists announced new findings that the survival rate of polar bear cubs in Alaska’s Beaufort Sea has plummeted. In the late 1980s, 65 percent of polar bear cubs in the southern Beaufort Sea survived their first year. That has fallen to an average of 43 percent in the past five years. — Polar Bears Go Hungry as Icy Habitat Melts Away

    “Without taking serious and urgent action to stabilize the climate, there is no future for polar bears” says Andrew Derocher, Chair of the World Conservation Union (IUCN), Polar Bear Specialist Group.

    See also this controversy: Oil vs Polar Bears in Alaska

    And these updates on the Arctic: Arctic Is the Canary in the Coalmine

    Arctic Oil and Gas Rush Alarms Scientists

    Arctic Meltdown Signals Long-Term Trend

    Inuit Sue America over Climate Change