Arctic sea ice extent for November 2010 was 9.89 million square kilometers (3.82 million square miles). The magenta line shows the 1979 to 2000 median extent for that month. The black cross indicates the geographic North Pole. Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center

CBC News
Last Updated: Monday, January 3, 2011 | 6:46 PM CST

A lack of sea ice in parts of Canada's eastern Arctic is contributing to unusually mild temperatures in Nunavut, according to scientists.

In recent months, the weather in many parts of Nunavut has been 10 to 12 degrees above the –20 and –30 C temperatures that are normal at this time of year.

Light rain fell in Iqaluit, the territorial capital, as the daytime temperature hovered around 0 C on Monday. Environment Canada declared 2010 to be the warmest year on record there.

In a rare sight for this time of year, Frobisher Bay has not yet frozen over entirely. Likewise, there is a lack of sea ice in parts of Hudson Bay, Davis Strait and other Arctic waterways.

Satellite images are showing a big change in the sea ice cover in the eastern Arctic, according to the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado.

Director Mark Serreze said an unusual high-pressure system that is lingering over the eastern Arctic is driving temperatures up and preventing some bodies of water from freezing.

But Serreze said the lack of Arctic sea ice is causing a "feedback cycle" that is contributing to the warming conditions as well.

"Now you've got all this open water where you usually don't have it, and that pumps heat into the atmosphere," he told CBC News. "So it's kind of a double whammy you've got working on there right now."

According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, nearly half of Hudson Bay would have been frozen over by the end of November. But by Nov. 30, only 17 per cent of the bay had sea ice on it. …

'Double whammy' warms Nunavut via ApocaDocs


  1. richard Pauli said...

    Jim, terrific reportage.

    You are doing so much better than most all our mass media.  


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