A large mass of dense air over the Yukon has been driving down temperatures across much of the rest of North America this past week.
The high-pressure system has been approaching record high levels in the Whitehorse area in recent days. That has meant not just blue skies, cold weather and high barometer readings in the Yukon, but also waves of cold in Central Canada and the eastern United States.
'It's almost as if you could see heads swelling in the Yukon, with all this air just on top of you.'—David Phillips, Environment Canada
"What we have seen are some incredibly high pressures. I mean, we have high pressure and there's high pressure, but this is really high," David Phillips, a senior climatologist with Environment Canada, told CBC News.
"It's almost as if you could see heads swelling in the Yukon, with all this air just on top of you."
The barometric pressure in Whitehorse was at 102 kilopascals (kPa) and falling Monday morning, but that reading was as high as 103.7 kPa on Sunday, according to Environment Canada's website. Temperatures in the Yukon capital on Sunday ranged between –20 C and –26 C.
'Arctic air ... doesn't have any ownership'
A number of Canadian and U.S. newspapers, including Friday's Chicago Tribune, have blamed the Yukon for their cold snaps.
Phillips said winter-weary Americans always blame Canada for cold temperatures, while Canadians usually blame Siberia.
"It's really Arctic air. I mean, it doesn't have any ownership. But really that source region, where this air is emanating from, does seem to be the Yukon," he said.
"If I was living there, I'd be pretty proud of the fact that you're exporting all of this cold air south."
On the bright side, Phillips noted that cold temperatures in the winter are normal and good for the environment. And of course, he added, it's great for people who enjoy outdoor winter activities.
Environment Canada is calling for snow and a risk of frostbite in Whitehorse on Monday. Temperatures are supposed to rise from –20 C in the morning to –17 C in the afternoon, and it will feel more like –30 C with the wind chill all day.
Forecasters are predicting temperatures in the city to rise up to a relatively balmy –7 C by Friday.